On Sunday morning I will mention that, from this coming September, we hope to partner with a newly formed Christian ministry called Embracing Age Isle of Wight. This local charity is part of a wider national charity called Embracing Age, which began in 2015. Embracing Age is helping churches throughout the UK to work together towards a world where older people are valued, connected and full of hope. The charity is seeking to do this by combating loneliness, mobilising volunteers, equipping churches and speaking out.
Here on the Island, the main project of Embracing Age is called Care Home Friends, and in September the Island’s Embracing Age coordinator, Rebecca Savage, will be visiting us one Sunday morning to speak about this project. The sad reality is that, for a variety of reasons, care home residents are twice as likely to feel lonely as a person living in the community. Rebecca will help us to consider the significance of the fact that care home residents cannot always choose where they live or with whom they live, so a resident may not have anything in common with the people they find themselves living with. Further, it is estimated that 70-80% of people living in a care home are on the dementia journey or have significant memory loss. As a church, we want to respond and I would like us to strengthen the links that we already have with Eden House care home in Totland, as well as with Green Meadows (which is NOT a care home, but still has 18 residents who receive NO regular visits or contact from family members or friends). From this September, we plan to create some opportunities for CBC members to begin reaching out in friendship to these residents, as well as to 4 residents from Eden House who, similarly, have no regular visits or contact from family or friends.
FOR NOW, there is a chance for us to BEGIN this journey by linking with another of Embracing Age’s projects, called Cards of Kindness. I would like two or three members of our congregation to begin meeting once a month to, between them, write a greeting card to each of the 18 residents identified by Green Meadows as being isolated and at risk of loneliness. Embracing Age will supply the cards, as well as the first names of the residents…the rest can be all up to you. You could meet for tea/coffee whilst you write the cards, you could share them out between you all or each contribute something to every card. In time, it might be that you decide to make some of the cards yourselves, or continue using the supply from Embracing Age. The cards will let these residents know that they are regularly thought of and remembered by Christians from within their community (specifically, from their closest church). It might seem like a very small thing – but in God’s hands, and to a local older person living at Green Meadows, receiving a monthly card like this could be an absolute life-line and could be a means by which their heart is opened to the Gospel. If you would like to find out more, please speak to me this Sunday after the service, or call me on 753741.