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The Wiser Collective: A new community initiative in Balham!

The Wiser Collective: A new community initiative in Balham!

2018-12-07 
| by Editor | Posted in Balham News, Balham Charities
Claire Redway and Sarah Laffey are the local residents behind The Wiser Collective.

A community initiative which connects older people with skills and experience with younger people and families who need them is launching in Balham.

Local residents Claire Redway and Sarah Laffey have formed The Wiser Collective, aiming to provide access to a local network which can:

  1. offer practical support for families living apart from their relatives
  2. build connections and provide purpose for potentially isolated older people
  3. offer a sense of neighbourly community and companionship for both groups.

Claire and Sarah came up with the idea when friends of Sarah’s kept telling her how lucky she was to have her mum living nearby.

“I realised that most of my local friends with a busy family life are living quite a distance from their older relatives and are really missing the sort of support you get from having your mum, dad or perhaps an aunt or uncle around,” says Sarah.

“It’s not just babysitting - it’s the knowledge and experience they share on a day to day basis with things like gardening and cooking advice or those awkward DIY jobs you never get round to. It’s also about practical help of course and, whilst my mum is pretty busy herself, she has the flexibility to help us out with things like sourcing costumes for dress up days at school, picking up missed deliveries, helping our kids with homework and music practice or just walking the dog when everyone’s too busy! Sometimes you really just need a hand with the basics to keep up with family life.”

As a mum to four busy children, Claire misses her own mother who lives in Northern Ireland so she loved the concept straight away and could see the potential benefit to older generations too.

“We kept hearing that many older people are living without the support and companionship of their own families nearby, perhaps not working or getting out much and suffering some really negative effects from isolation. With loneliness being such a hot topic and real social challenge for all age groups, The Wiser Collective feels like a timely part of the solution,” commented Claire.

The pilot phase will run from January 2019 and the team are looking for approximately 10 older individuals and 10 families to be involved at this early stage, both to benefit as users and also to provide feedback before it is rolled out to the wider community. The only condition of involvement in the pilot is an ability and willingness to go online and perhaps use a closed (private) group on a social network such as Facebook.

So if you are an older person who is living independently and has time and skills to offer to help local families OR if you are a local family who could use the skills and experience of an older neighbour (and could offer practical help and/or companionship in return), then Claire and Sarah would love to hear from you!

For more information, please email info@thewisercollective.com or call 07879 435 207. You can also follow The Wiser Collective on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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