Re-engage is a charity dedicated to tackling social isolation and loneliness in older people living alone, with a special focus on the over 75s. Since 1965, and with the help of thousands of dedicated volunteers across the UK, they have been providing isolated older people with treasured opportunities to socialise and make new friends.
There are over 2.2 million people aged 75+ living alone in the UK and at risk from constant loneliness. Loneliness is miserable and there is increasing evidence that it leads to permanent and serious conditions, increasing the likelihood of diseases such as clinical dementia, depression and heart disease. Re-engage brings generations together through three key services: monthly social groups in local communities; telephone befriending and their Community Christmas service.
A donation from ICAP Charity Day 2020 funded Re-engage’s Community Christmas service. The service provides companionship in person (when circumstances allow) and over the phone during what can be an especially lonely and difficult time for older people on their own.
My wife died on 10th April this year so I'm totally alone now. I spend a lot of my time sat in my chair in these four walls. I really enjoyed my call, it really helped me and made a big differenceRe-engage older beneficiary
In a normal year, Community Christmas helps older people who are expecting to be alone at Christmas to find events open to them in their local communities. An important aspect of this is the Community Christmas online directory where all the local events are listed. Despite the challenges of the pandemic during Christmas 2020, Re-engage was able to include socially distanced options in the Community Christmas directory such as online pantomimes, a Boxing Day walk and the delivery of hot Christmas dinners and gift hampers.
It was our way of giving back to the community and spreading a little Christmas joy. The events were a big success. During the week, we had thousands of people who tuned inChris Lucas, Community Christmas event organiser
The staff at Kingsway Care, a home care company in Brighton and Hove, were one of the charity’s Community Christmas event organisers. They put on a series of online events to bring people together after a really tough year.
The impact of the 2020 ICAP Charity Day will be felt by many for years to come as Re-engage provides regular companionship to older people for as long as it is it needed. This regular contact has been proven to have a remarkable impact on wellbeing. The older people who take part in Re-engage services report feeling happier, more confident and, crucially, that they now have something to look forward to. We feel privileged to have been part of the 2020 ICAP Charity Day. Christmas in 2020 was difficult and lonely for many, and certainly for the older people we help. They are often incredibly isolated and vulnerable. A warm and friendly conversation can mean so much. We cannot say thank you enoughMeryl Davies, Re-engage Chief Executive
Funding from ICAP Charity Day enabled Re-engage to run a communications campaign around Community Christmas. This led to an increase in awareness of their cause and their other services. This was one of the key aims of Community Christmas: to invite older people who were lonely at Christmas to have regular companionship through-out the year. After hearing about Community Christmas, 203 people told the charity they were interested in hearing more about Re-engage’s work and, in the month after the campaign ended, hundreds of isolated older people applied to join their telephone befriending service, Call Companions. The project also saw 7,383 calls to be made to isolated older people over the Christmas period, including on Christmas Day.