Our Futures programme gives a voice to staff members with ideas to tackle social isolation, and improve our organisation for people supported and staff members. Every idea is welcomed, and the Futures Group provides support to transform ideas into reality.

The UK is the loneliness Capital of Europe, and at the core of Carr Gomm’s support is a plan to alleviate social isolation for the people of Scotland - no matter their background.

Emma’s story

Emma’s idea was to host weekly coffee mornings for people connected to our service in Edinburgh. From people supported, to staff, friends, partner organisations and even neighbours, everyone was welcome.

Emma shares with us all her motivations for the idea, and why she felt so strongly about finding ways to tackle loneliness and social isolation.

What was your motivation to submit a Futures idea?

The idea was brewed after chatting with a colleague, Chloe, from Volunteer Edinburgh.  One gentleman who had all his classes and groups cancelled because of lockdown was sad and worried about isolation. Chloe and I asked ourselves how we would get people to socialise, especially as we couldn't do anything communal. We had coffee in our hands and that is where the idea came from.

Who is involved in the coffee mornings?

Everyone at our service is invited, as well as partners like Volunteer Edinburgh. It is a very casual setting, with some coffee and a chat. We don’t talk about people’s development, it's more of a space for people to socialise. It was important for us to avoid any power imbalance between support and those supported, so a simple meet up, just talking and having a laugh was important. On sunny days, we’ve even been known to take our coffee and biscuits into the garden to allow for even more social distancing.

Have the coffee mornings been a success?

We have recently hosted our 5th coffee morning, and it has gone better than I could have imagined. We spoke about the sessions a few weeks ago to get some feedback from people supported, and to see if there was anything else that people wanted to gain from it. The feedback was positive, with people supported identifying that they really enjoy how casual and unstructured it is. It was also mentioned by a few that our meetups give people something to look forward to throughout the week. 

What has been the impact on the people supported?

One person supported said that the coffee morning had really brightened his week as it gets him out of his flat and allows him to socialise face-to-face with other people - something he had been missing since March. This was important as we started this initiative to help people tackle the feelings associated with social isolation. 

If you’re a part of the Carr Gomm team, submit your Futures ideas through the intranet.

If you would like to learn more about our Futures programme, email: [email protected]