Cornerstone House Centre has today relaunched the Cumbernauld CHaT (Community Help and Talk) Service for winter 2021-22, recognising that many people in the local area continue to experience a range of negative effects as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The initiative, which initially became very popular during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020, aims to provide a range of free practical supports, interventions, advice giving and chat services to help citizens of Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Northern Corridor over the next five months.
The re-launch of Cumbernauld CHaT comes as part of an exciting new Cumbernauld Bridging Forward partnership which is being led by Cornerstone House Centre and involves experienced community-serving organisations Cumbernauld Community Forum and Cumbernauld Poverty Action. The programme is backed by Scottish Government.
A telephone helpline, open from 9am-9pm every day, and email support service have been set up and are operational as of today through Cumbernauld CHaT. Independent of statutory services, the provision aims to act as a first-stop shop for advice, guidance, signposting, social contact and practical assistance for individuals, families and organisations in Greater Cumbernauld in need of support. Mary McNeil, Development Manager at Cornerstone House Centre commented:
“We recognise that a high number of individuals and families in Greater Cumbernauld are still facing a range of mental, physical and practical challenges because of the pandemic.
“It is for this reason that via the Cumbernauld Bridging Forward partnership, Cornerstone House Centre is delighted to announce that local people will have the opportunity to receive free support every day until at least Friday 1 April 2022 through a rejuvenation of the Cumbernauld CHaT Service.
“The telephone helpline and email support service are open for any individual or organisation in Cumbernauld and surrounding areas to access, including family members, older people, those on lower incomes, people facing physical or mental health challenges, people who are lonely or isolated, individuals unable to leave the house, carers and those experiencing health inequalities.
“So many excellent communities and organisations have done a great deal to help the Cumbernauld area recover from the pandemic, but it is true that many people are still feeling the devastating effects of the crisis and continue to need support at this time.
“As such, Cumbernauld CHaT will bringing together the knowledge, expertise and skills of Cornerstone House Centre, Cumbernauld Family Hub and Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub, Cumbernauld Community Forum, Cumbernauld Poverty Action and others for the benefit of local people and organisations.”
Cumbernauld CHaT can help citizens facing a range of different circumstances and problems, including those experiencing stress, depression or low mood because of the pandemic or its impacts. It can also support individuals going through social isolation or loneliness and who might need someone to talk to, and is able to assist people feeling anxious about mixing with others and going into public places following easing of lockdown restrictions.
Practically, the service can also facilitate signposting to local groups that offer collection of shopping, delivery of prescriptions, support with finance worries and allocation of emergency food and toiletry parcels.
If you or someone you know needs help, advice or simply someone to talk to at this time, please contact the Cumbernauld CHaT Service on 07940 569527 (between 9am and 9pm) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If social media is more your style, you can contact Cumbernauld CHaT via Facebook Messenger @CornerstoneCHC. A member of the team will discuss via telephone, email or social media the need or request that you have and seek to help in the most suitable, practical and compassionate way.
WHAT DIFFERENCE DID CUMBERNAULD CHaT SERVICE MAKE WHEN IT WAS FIRST DELIVERED IN 2020?
During the first three months of the coronavirus pandemic (April-June 2020), Cumbernauld CHaT Service recorded a total of 281 enquiries and made a further 141 wellbeing telephone calls to vulnerable citizens across Greater Cumbernauld. An analysis report which included feedback from a sample of service users evidenced that the provision resulted in mitigation of a number of the negative impacts of the pandemic at the time for many people living in Cumbernauld and surrounding areas.
A clear pattern of the client groups benefiting most from Cumbernauld CHaT during that period was identified through this process. It highlighted that those more likely to experience inequality and less likely to feel secure financially, emotionally, physically or mentally were the greatest beneficiaries. In particular, it was found that those in high risk COVID-19 categories, including older people and individuals with existing health conditions, received significant support.
Furthermore, the analysis outlined that Cumbernauld CHaT positively impacted food poverty, mental health, social isolation, financial health, physical health and COVID-19 response activity in the local area.
Another indicator of the effectiveness of Cumbernauld CHaT was the highly positive reception the initiative received from esteemed and respected partner agencies. Notably, the service was lauded locally as an innovative response measure and a model of good practice, receiving support and praise from key agencies such as Antonine Shopping Centre, Cumbernauld News and Kilsyth Chronicle, Cumbernauld Resilience, New College Lanarkshire and NHS Lanarkshire.
This considered, Cornerstone House Centre, as a well-established and strategically positioned Community Anchor Organisation for the Greater Cumbernauld area, continues to recognise a crucial role for itself in facilitating vital COVID-19 community response activity, even more than 18 months after the onset of the pandemic.
Over the coming weeks, further innovative pandemic recovery initiatives will be announced jointly by Cornerstone House Centre, Cumbernauld Community Forum and Cumbernauld Poverty Action as part of Cumbernauld Bridging Forward.