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1 Annual Review

2 Going forward, Community Network aims to increase its reach, opening up lines of support to the thousands of people in the UK who are affected by loneliness and isolation. 2

3 Chair s message It has been a year of transformation for Community Network with a focus on new partnerships, a change of our operational business model and office relocation. All the changes have been made with the aim of tackling the very real problems of loneliness and isolation that exist throughout society. One of the biggest changes was the transfer of the charity s teleconferencing service to The Phone Co-op. This decision was made was based on a need to stabilise Community Network s income, continue to provide customers with a competitive state of the art teleconferencing service and to enable us to concentrate on tackling loneliness, isolation and social exclusion. Nine months on, the partnership has proved successful for both organisations. It provides a regular income, contributing to the core running costs of the charity. The Phone Co-op has an excellent reputation for providing telecoms services and its organisational values are in line with Community Network s. The Trustees are confident that the partnership will continue to flourish and help us to meet the strategic objectives of the charity. Enabling people to help each other tackle loneliness and isolation is a key part of the work of the charity; setting up and running Telephone Communities as peer support is at the very heart of this. We continued to support vulnerable individuals from across the UK to meet up in groups on the telephone. Partnerships have been an important focus in the development of projects and services for lonely and isolated members of society. The Board recognises that such partnerships are vital to ensuring that a range of services are available to vulnerable lonely and isolated people in the UK. Going forward, Community Network aims to increase its reach, opening up lines of support to the thousands of people in the UK who are affected by loneliness and isolation will see the launch of the Birmingham Telephone Communities for older people project, funded by the Dulverton Trust. A small but strong and dedicated head office staff team has been supported throughout the year by a range of volunteers and pro bono support. In addition to a superb bank of volunteer facilitators and office support, Community Network has been assisted to improve policies and procedures, produce a video, maintain a strong web presence and build our HR capacity. The Trustees acknowledge that the charity continues to operate in a challenging financial environment but we feel confident that it will continue to meet the priorities of our forward strategy, most importantly to support those people who are adversely affected by loneliness and isolation. Stephen Heard Chair of Trustees 3

4 Chief Executive s message Loneliness is something that can be addressed if we work together to give people the means to connect, engage and communicate. Loneliness is one of the few remaining taboos of modern life in western society. In recent years strides have been made about talking about mental illness but to feel lonely is still often seen as a character flaw or the result of something a person does or doesn t do. The reality is very different. Research has shown that loneliness is not just an unpleasant feeling but also a serious risk to physical and mental health. It is akin to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and linked to heart disease, depression and Alzheimer s. At Community Network we don t need the hard facts to be convinced of the damaging effects of loneliness and the isolation that often accompanies it. 4 My team and I speak to people of all ages on a regular basis who simply do not have anyone to talk to day in day out. Yet loneliness is something that can be addressed if we work together to give people the means to connect, engage and communicate. The older people we have supported in the past year range from 60 to 93 years of age. Taking part in Telephone Communities has given them back a sense of belonging, helped to build new friendships and crucially made them feel less lonely. This is an amazing achievement made possible by the team of staff and volunteers at Community Network but also by each and every member of Telephone Communities, who through their regular group telephone conversations support one another. Throughout , we made changes at Community Network that would assist us to help more and more people of all ages connect up in Telephone Communities in years to come. The most significant of these was our partnership with The Phone Co-op who now operates our teleconferencing service. We said goodbye to valued members of the team who transferred across to The Phone Co-op, safe in the knowledge that the service would continue to benefit from their experience and expertise. Thank you to everyone who has supported Community Network during the year and helped to reduce loneliness across the nation. Angela Cairns Chief Executive

5 Telephone Communities Tackling loneliness and isolation by bringing people together in groups on the phone forms the heart of Community Network s projects and services. I think the group is good, especially for people who live by themselves. It can be very lonely. I m not so bad in the evenings, as my niece and my sister phone me, but it s worse in the daytime. I do get very down and depressed, not being able to get out. Rose, London Telephone Communities We delivered Telephone Communities in Greater London, Bedford, Scotland and nationally via the Seafarers Link project. Groups increase the number of people those taking part speak to on a regular basis and nurture those connections to build a sense of community on the telephone. Everyone is a carer and we all talk about everything how we cope with things. We share quite a bit of information about gardening, what help s available. I found out about the key for disabled toilets when you re out and about. I didn t know about that before. Pritam, London Telephone Communities 100% of beneficiaries responding to recent monitoring spoke positively about how much they felt part of a Telephone Community. 92% of respondents said they felt less lonely since taking part in Telephone Community groups. 72% of respondents said they felt more confident after taking part in their Telephone Communities. 5

6 It s changed my life. I don t drive; I ve never passed a test. It s lovely to have someone to talk to; other men from the sea to speak to. We approached Community Network because of their longstanding reputation for being experts in their field, this combined with a shared values system and a joint commitment to making a real difference to vulnerable older people lives by tackling the very real problem of loneliness and isolation has led to a strong and valued partnership. The Silver Line 6 Seafarers Link Seafarers Link supports older, ex-seafarers who have lived their lives offshore. The project connects them up on a fortnightly teleconference and allows them to chat with others who share their experiences, and reduce their loneliness. Former Royal Navy seaman and experienced fisherman, has spent most of his life at sea. With this strong seafaring background, Willy was well connected to the charity SAIL and it was them who directed him to Community Network when he fell ill with severe chest pains and asthma. Around the same time Willy joined the Seafarers Link, his wife passed away, and he found the group a positive force in his life. The group lifted his spirits and meant that he felt connected to a family he has always known and been there for him, but one which has been out of reach until now, his family of seafarers. The Silver Line 2013 saw the launch of The Silver Line, a helpline for older people offering advice, guidance and friendship, founded by Esther Rantzen. We forged a strong partnership with new charity and delivered pilot telephone groups called Silver Circles, complementing their one to one telephone befriending service. Dave is a participant in a Silver Circles telephone group. After his first call he enthusiastically fed back how brilliant it had been for him. Dave had forgotten how enjoyable it was to talk with a group of people and felt he was slowly losing the ability to converse. It was the first time in who knows how many years I d had a conversation with more than one person at a time.

7 Age UK Fit as a Fiddle We have continued to work closely with Age UK nationally on the Fit as a Fiddle programme, creating a train the trainer pack for the Talking Tonics health telephone group project and going forward providing consultancy for locally based Age UK branches and other organisations who want to implement the project The Phone Co-op Since Community Network was founded in 1989 we have been running a successful teleconferencing service for the benefit of other not for profits and to support our Telephone Communities. With increasing competition and rapid changes in technology we decided that the best way to build on the successes of the service in the future was to go into partnership with a company with telecoms expertise. In 2013, we became business partners with the growing ethical telecoms provider, The Phone Co-op. The Phone Co-op is the UK s only telecommunications co-operative owned and run by everyday people. With their emphasis on customers, we felt they would be the best people to run the teleconferencing service on our behalf. Community Network teleconferences are now operated by The Phone Co-op s team who are building on the excellent quality provided by the service. If you are interested in using the Teleconferencing Service for the first time call or and mention you have been referred by Community Network. The group has helped my health, communications skills and help me make new friends who have had a positive impact in my life. Brenda, London Telephone Communities Training Throughout the year Community Network has provided telephone group facilitation training to our own volunteers and those of other voluntary sector organisations including Elders Voices, Bedford Carers and Bipolar UK. 7

8 I loved it, it was comprehensive, insightful, an eye-opener. I m so excited to start our new group. In we: Refreshed our telephone facilitation training Delivered 160 hours of training to volunteers & other organisations Expanded our pool of trainers Developed training packs for Arthritis Care s Chat for Change project When I close a Community Network telephone group conference call I know I have spent the previous hour speaking to a group of 4 or 5 real friends. We all want to be involved; me as a facilitator, them as participants and we have discussed and talked about a wide range of useful and friendly topics to mutual advantage. Don, Volunteer Facilitator 8 Improving health and well-being Having meaningful connections with friends and family has a positive impact on health and well-being. Telephone Communities play a key role in supporting people to feel connected to others. Not only do group members feel less lonely after taking part but being part of a Telephone Community improves mental well-being. We use the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale to track changes in wellbeing of the people in our Telephone Communities. This highlights that taking part in regular telephone groups improves well-being and in most cases exceeds the national average score. In particular, people s responses indicate that they feel more cheerful and closer to other people. Telephone Communities can enhance quality of life for people with long term conditions and are part of a package of measures that allows older people to live independently for longer. Volunteering We deliver our services with without the invaluable support of our team of volunteers. Our Telephone Communities are all facilitated by a team of volunteers who ensure groups are a safe, friendly and easy to take part in. In volunteers donated 1,233 hours of time. This equates to 9,432 of donated time based on the living wage.

9 Summary of accounts for year ended 31 March 2014 Incoming resources Restricted Unrestricted 2014 Voluntary income - 9,045 9,045 Investment income Income from charitable Activities Benefitting those with Constrained communication 65,682 1,565 67,247 Providing services to Charities & not for profits - 138, ,527 Total incoming resources 65, , ,864 Resources expended Charitable activities Benefiting those with Constrained communication 72,653 72, ,623 Providing services to Charities & not for profits - 49,041 49,041 Governance costs 11,701 11,701 Total resources expended 72, , ,365 Net/incoming/(outgoing) Resources for the year (6,971) 15,470 8,499 Funds at the start of the year 48,575 (13,870) 34,705 Funds at the end of the year 41,603 1,600 43,203 9

10 Supporting Community Network The Trustees are very grateful to all the supporters of Community Network and in particular to the following grant giving trusts and foundations who enable our vital work lifting people out of loneliness: The City Bridge Trust The House of Industry The Persula Foundation The Lintel Trust Hanover Housing (Scotland) Big Lottery via Age UK The Dulverton Trust Seafarers UK Lloyds Bank Foundation 10 Community Network receives no government funding for its work tackling loneliness and isolation and every penny we receive in donations makes a difference to people who might otherwise not speak to another human being from week to week. 6 can cover the teleconferencing costs of a Telephone Communities call for a lonely older person. 20 helps to support people to join Telephone Communities and reduce their loneliness. 140 pays for the training of a volunteer facilitator who will go on to give weekly support to a Telephone Community. A really safe and easy way to donate is to via our Virgin Money Giving page. If you would prefer to make a donation via the post please send a cheque made out to Community Network to: Community Network, Archway Resource Centre, 1B Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ. If you would like to talk to us about completing a challenge event for Community Network or to find out more about fundraising for us please give Angela a call on or

11 It makes me feel part of the world. Makes me feel like I m not forgotten. 11

12 Community Network Archway Resource Centre 1B Waterlow Road London N19 5NJ Tel: Web: Facebook: Registered Charity No The production of this Annual Review has been sponsored by SHM Ltd, a management consultancy specialising in transformational change management.

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