A scheme which will see postal workers check on lonely older people is to be piloted in Liverpool.
The L4 and L5 postcode areas in the north of the city have been announced by the Government as one of the test-bed areas for the ‘Safe and Connected’ scheme, in partnership with Royal Mail.
It is based on the successful Jersey-based project ‘Call&Check’ and will see postal workers calling on over 65s who sign up to participate, as part of their usual delivery rounds.
They will ask a standard set of questions to assess individual need, with the council analysing the results and directing the individual as necessary to friends, family, neighbours or local voluntary sector services.
The aim is to reduce the risk of loneliness, as well as addressing other needs and issues – and will initially be limited to 100 people.
It forms part of the Government’s Loneliness Strategy, announced today by the Prime Minister.
Councillor Paul Brant, Cabinet member for adult social care, said: “We are pleased to be part of this pilot scheme, which is not just aimed at tackling loneliness but also about identifying when people may need more support and help.
“Postal staff are a trusted part of the local community, particularly for older people, which makes them ideal for this scheme.
“We have an increasingly older population and many do not have family living locally who are able to visit as often as they would like.
“We will work to carefully identify those who will benefit most from this project and feedback to Government in monitoring its success.”
Sue Whalley, CEO, Royal Mail Post and Parcels UK, said: “Our people are the perfect fit for this laudable and worthwhile initiative.
“Our nationwide “feet on the street” network gives us unparalleled UK reach and local knowledge. In addition, this new community initiative cements the role we already play in tackling loneliness and isolation, providing individuals with a way to access the local services they really need.
“Our postmen and women really are often first on the scene in an emergency and they do all they can to help. This trial, which the Home Office is funding, will help us test whether we could develop this as a new commercial service that we might offer to communities more widely through local authorities or other organisations.”
Mark Kempster, Royal Mail Liverpool North Delivery Office Manager said: “Our postmen and women develop a lot of knowledge about the local area and the people who live there.
“At Royal Mail, we’re always happy to pitch in in an emergency, but it can be more difficult to know how to help when you feel that people are lonely or isolated. We are really pleased to be doing our bit to help look out for our customers’ well-being and help put them in touch with local support services if they need it.”
Joe Dickinson, Head of Innovation at Call&Check, added: “At Call&Check our goal is to make a real difference to people’s lives, enabling them to continue to live at home, with their families and friends, living well and safely for as long as they possibly can.
“Our team is delighted to be working with our project partners; the Local Authority team and Age Concern, together with Royal Mail, to enable the delivery of the Safe and Connected Trial.
“Based upon our successful Call&Check service in Jersey we have provided expertise, support and the IT system for the Safe and Connected Trial in Liverpool and look forward to continuing to work with our project partners as the scheme develops.”
People who know someone who they believe would be suitable should call Careline on 0151 233 3800.
Other pilot areas for ‘Safe and Connected’ are Whitby and New Malden in Kingston-upon-Thames.
An independent evaluation will be carried out, which will be completed in June 2019.
More information about the Government’s loneliness strategy can be found here.