The Living Well Project at the URC, which was the brainchild of the former Minister Jamie Kissack, celebrated its sixth birthday this month by inviting representatives of local authorities, statutory services and community organisations to enjoy a buffet lunch and hear about its achievements. The project, which is not faith based, responds to referrals from health and care services, families and friends to help people overcome the effects of social isolation. This is achieved by regular telephone calls which provide a friendly chat and where appropriate invitations to a range of social activities which may include a monthly lunch for those in greatest need. Project Chairman, June Barton, and Project Leader Kathy Webb welcomed the guests and explained how the project has gone from strength to strength, achieving many notable successes along the way. There have been numerous examples of people who have managed to turn their lives around from being lonely and depressed to becoming fully active members of the community. Another member of the Leadership Team, Margaret Knapton, also pointed out that several volunteers have found employment as a result of working with Living Well. Several of the volunteers then spoke about their experiences: Nicky told of how having experienced extreme loneliness herself as a blind student in France had motivated her to help others who may be in similar circumstances. Ann said that she had been surprised at just how many people there are in need of help, and praised the Craft Group run by Glenn which now has approximately 30 people attending and continues to have new members. John had decided to volunteer after thinking about his mother’s predicament and how she would have benefitted from such a service. He believes that Living Well helps people to realise that they are not alone and can be part of something bigger. He also feels that the telephone calls are a two-way experience, with volunteers often learning of opportunities in Hornsea and about life, as well as having the reward of bringing a little happiness to someone. Kay was recruited after enquiring on behalf of a friend’s mother and she now drives the Lions minibus for the monthly lunches. She thoroughly enjoys her work as a Telephone Support Network Supervisor which involves signposting people to other services that may be of help to them. Alex, who became partially disabled from severe burns, helps with the monthly meals and has also done charity runs. He says he would rather volunteer for something he believes in than do a job which makes him miserable. David Radford, Project Training Officer, joined the project three years ago and gained more than he expected when he met and married Sarah Darlington, Administrator and Transport Manager! David outlined the latest Living Well initiative on Healthy Lifestyles which will take place on seven consecutive Friday mornings between 26th October and 7th December, starting at 10am in the URC Hall. The programme has been devised following suggestions made by the participants of a successful recent “Cooking on a Budget” session. Topics will include Relaxation, Armchair Aerobics, Coping with Stress and Anxiety, Healthy Eating and useful information. In conclusion, the Mayor Keith Himsworth, congratulated and thanked all the volunteers for their heroic contribution to the battle against the terrible disease that is Loneliness. Living Well and the demand for its services are expanding rapidly, so anyone who may be interested in joining the friendly team of volunteers would be made most welcome. Volunteers can commit to as few or as many hours as they wish. Why not give some support to this wonderful project? You may also be rewarded in ways that you couldn’t have imagined!