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‘Happy Place’ initiative launched for county’s most vulnerable and isolated

1st July 2021
Posted by Aston Avery

Vulnerable adults experiencing isolation due to the pandemic will be invited to take part in a new, fulfilling programme in Essex.

A new programme has launched in Essex to support some of the county’s most vulnerable people who have been, and still are, experiencing isolation due to the pandemic.

As Essex comes out of lockdown, ‘This Happy Place’, an Essex County Council initiative, aims to build the resilience of those living with dementia in the community and their carers,  as well as those in care settings so that they can have a fulfilling return to society or at least, an enriching experience.

‘This Happy Place’ launched online initially last week, with an in-person, 12-week programme to follow. It will see participants take part in an exciting range of cultural activities with a number of organisations and services including:

  • Essex Wellbeing Service
  • Essex’s Dementia Action Alliances
  • Carers First and the Alzheimer’s Society

Participants will also work with some of the UK’s leading arts and health organisations, including:

  • Age Exchange
  • Green Candle Dance Company
  • Orchestras Live
  • Sinfonia Viva
  • Magic Me.

The programme aims to offer almost 4,000 opportunities for engagement across a range of different activities, sessions and classes.

Through these activities, which will be online and in person, ‘This Happy Place’ aims to improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of participants impacted by a lack of social engagement caused by the pandemic, by strengthening relationships, sharing experiences and at the same time, learning new skills. 

Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, Cllr John Spence said:

“We know that the pandemic has been challenging for everyone, but for the county’s most vulnerable adults, in many cases, it has had a detrimental impact.

“This innovative and fulfilling programme will make such a difference. Not only will those participating meet new people in a social setting – something they have not been able to do in some cases for a long time. They will also be able to take part in a range of activities, such as storytelling, dance and fitness.

“Even though there is now light at the end of the tunnel, looking after the county’s vulnerable remains a key priority for us and this programme is one of many ways in which we are continuing to support those that need it most.

“I would like to thank all the partners and organisations involved for making this possible.”

Participants will be offered to take part in the programme through referral by either;

  • Service users of Alzheimer’s Society and Carers First
  • Dementia Action Alliance Intelligence
  • Local organisations within districts and boroughs
  • Essex Wellbeing Service – self referral portal

The full timetable of activities is to be confirmed however, it will be led by participant need and wishes. Initial taster sessions are taking place online.