Project to tackle ‘rural isolation’


Vulnerable people living in rural isolation are to receive help through a new five-year programme being launched by the British Red Cross.

They are joining forces with Land Rover to deliver the ‘Home and Well Project’ to up to 1,000 vulnerable people facing crisis. The scheme will target Co Antrim.

Research shows that nearly a quarter of older people live in rural areas and, with the ageing population expected to rise, issues such as disease and disability in rural communities are set to grow. This makes health and social care work essential.

The new initiative will be delivered in partnership with the Northern Trust and local voluntary and community agencies.

Red Cross volunteers will provide help to people recovering from or at risk of a health crisis; supporting them emotionally and practically. The focus will be primarily on rural areas where people often find it more difficult to access social and community services, including health care. They may also face isolation and poor transport links.

Operations Director for the Red Cross in Northern Ireland Sharon Sinclair commented: “The Home and Well Project will mean that our volunteers can provide more vulnerable people with emotional and practical support following a stay in hospital or residential care, or a period of illness. This will help them retain their independence within their own home, ease social isolation, help them re-engage with their community, and improve their health and wellbeing.”

Land Rover UK will provide £2m worth of support to 11 Red Cross projects in rural locations.

The company will also continue its long-term vehicle loan scheme to the British Red Cross during times of severe weather, enabling emergency response workers to access communities during crises.

The scheme is part of a £15m global initiative between the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Land Rover, called ‘Reaching Vulnerable people Around the World’.