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Plungington to see new community project tackle social isolation

Posted on - 14th August, 2019 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Plungington, Politics, Preston Council, Preston News
An aerial view across Plungington
An aerial view across Plungington Pic: Nicola Martin

A community with a ‘transient’ population is to see a new project take place.

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Connected Communities is funded by Preston City Council and will be put on by University of Central Lancashire.

It follows a similar project in Broadgate and Hartington Road in November 2017.

Funding for the scheme comes from the £100,000 allocated by Preston City Council to further develop The Preston Model.

£25,000 will be spent with UCLan to lead on the project.

Cabinet member for community wealth building councillor Freddie Bailey said: “I am proud that we are able to move forward with this next stage of the Connected Communities project with the University of Central Lancashire, this time with a focus on the Plungington area.

“We are not shy about our ambitious Fairness Agenda and intention to increase the resilience of our communities. This project is one of the ways we can actively progress these aims and work directly with a community to build stronger connections and support.”

A council report states Plungington is more likely to have a ‘fragmented community’ and have ‘isolated groups and individuals’.

Dr Julie Ridley from UCLan will be leading the project.

The lecturer at the Centre for Citizenship and Community in School of social work, care and community, said: “We’re very proud to be awarded funding for a second Connected Communities Project in Preston, which proved to be so successful last year in Broadgate and Hartington. Our aim is to understand better how people are supported by family, friends and other support networks and, if they’re not, to find out what makes them feel isolated or lonely and what can be put in place to tackle it.

“From the research we did in Broadgate, the community has now set up the Community Connectors organisation to help people from diverse backgrounds to connect and to find bespoke solutions to loneliness and social isolation.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to use the successful Connected Communities approach in Plungington, to hopefully inspire change and encourage people to connect with each other. We will begin by working with local stakeholders and recruiting local volunteer researchers from the Plunginton area, who will survey the local community to get to the heart of how people interact and what they think can be done to bring them closer together.”

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Plungington councillor Pav Akhtar welcomed the proposed funding.

He said: “Residents have been telling us that the threat of losing our GP services and our church has hit community connectivity and individuals’ access to support networks which help reduce the social and psychological impact of isolation, and harm to peoples’ health.

“The Connected Communities project will map existing support networks in Plungington, point out the gaps, and who is losing out. As the three local councillors we will use the data to work with our residents to put resources into building those networks that will have the best local impact.”

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Preston City Council’s cabinet is due to meet during Wednesday August 14 to hear more about the scheme and approve the funding.

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