Supporting Marmalade members to make new connections and find social activity in their local community.
Marmalade Companions started as a response to the Covid crisis and has evolved into a broader response to support those in our communities who are the most socially isolated, and who experience chronic loneliness (feeling lonely all or most of the time). We are delighted that the project will continue in 2024.
It's a time-limited, 1:1 project operating from February until July across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. Based on the enabling/empowering social prescribing model, trained volunteers make a weekly call to members focusing on their specific needs and interests. These conversations lead to volunteers signposting them to local social activities and community support, to improve their social connections. Marmalade Companions is not a "befriending call project", the participants need to be keen to explore new ways of getting social connections.
Why are we running the project?
Our Marmalade members vary in age and ability, but all experience social isolation and/or loneliness. We know loneliness can have a negative impact on health and wellbeing and now more than ever it is important for us to support people to re-engage with their local communities.
“My lovely volunteer never misses a call, even though she is busy. I love hearing all about her children. We chat away very easily, about all sorts of things, including cats. I feel more positive and am finding it easier to make new friends and talk to people.”
We recognise that loneliness is a subjective experience, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach that will prevent everyone from feeling lonely. By matching a trained volunteer with each Marmalade member, we can ensure that each individual receives a tailored response that connects them with the kinds of services and support they think would help them.
By building a trusting relationship through regular phone contact (30 minutes/week), companions offer help and support to build the member's confidence, form new social links and access services needed. Signposting to new activities or ways of making social connections inside or outside the home, is a key part of the volunteer role.
Ultimately the project aims to enable our members to step out of loneliness and make meaningful, long-lasting connections that bring them joy far beyond the programme. By the end of the project, we hope to see our members engaging with a new group, activity, or opportunity in their community; rekindling old hobbies, becoming more active or learning new skills.
Becoming a volunteer
Joining us as a volunteer not only changes lives but also offers a chance to forge lasting friendships, enjoy meaningful experiences, and truly connect with your community.
Becoming a member
If you or someone you know would benefit from up to 16 weeks of telephone support to find new social connections, we'd love to hear from you. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us by email: email@example.com.
Marmalade Member, Companions Project
What is a Marmalade Companion Volunteer?
As a Marmalade Companion Volunteer, you will support one or occasionally two of our members (the people we support) for a period of up to 16 weeks. All calls will be finished by mid-July. The role involves phoning a matched member once a week for a friendly call lasting about 30 minutes plus researching potential social connection and activity opportunities.
You will receive training on how to build up a trusted telephone relationship with your member(s) to enable you to support and signpost them to relevant services and activities. This project aims to help reduce social isolation and loneliness and to support your member(s) to discover lasting connections in their community.