Our New Charity Of The Year Is Active And In Touch

Frome Medical Practice has chosen local charity Active and In Touch as our new Charity of the Year. Active and In Touch aims to support lonely and isolated people, befriending them and helping them to feel part of the community. The charity also coordinates Frome Community Drivers, a network of volunteers who support people to make essential journeys, such as for medical appointments or shopping.

Frome Medical Practice Charity Champion, Kevin Sivell, said “We are delighted to be working with Active and In Touch as our Charity of the Year. The purpose of the charity aligns closely with the work we do as a practice on building connections, and we know what a positive impact one to one befriending can have on someone’s health and wellbeing. We hope that over the course of the next few months we can both fundraise for Active and In Touch and also help raise awareness of the charity, the volunteering opportunities that they have and the support they are able to offer to local people.”

Dougie Brown, Director of Services at Active and In Touch said, “ We are thrilled that Active and In Touch has been named as the Frome Medical Practice Charity for 2022. Over 70% of our members are referred to us by the Health Connections Team and our unifying purpose is to improve individual’s health and wellbeing, so working together is a perfect fit and will help enable us to continue to tackle isolation and loneliness”

Dougie Brown of Active and In Touch and Kevin Sivell of Frome Medical Practice

Active and In Touch started around 10 years ago, by supporting a handful of people but has now grown significantly. Pre-pandemic, Active and In Touch employed several part time members of staff, had over 100 volunteers and supported more than 150 people in the local community. When the pandemic hit, things changed enormously for the charity. Overnight, they needed to find more volunteers, as referrals went up exponentially across all areas of the services the charity offers, as Dougie explains.

“We found ourselves as the point of contact for people in New Zealand, Singapore and Ireland, for example, who were concerned about family and friends living in Frome and asking for help for them. The impact of the pandemic means that a team of 250 Active and In Touch volunteers are now supporting nearly 300 isolated and lonely people living in Frome and surrounding villages.”

Active and In Touch works closely with many other organisations in Frome, including the Health Connections Mendip team, Fair Frome and the Mental Health Team, all of whom refer people for support. But it is also possible for friends, relatives and individuals themselves to seek support for those who need it.

Active and In Touch was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services (the charity equivalent to a MBE) in 2021 in special recognition of their work during the pandemic, one of only two Somerset charities to receive this award. Their work is largely funded through regular applications to various funding avenues, including occasional grants from Frome Town Council. The charity has started a regular giving scheme, where donors can give £1 per week.

“Raising our profile, encouraging more donations and attracting more funding is crucial to the continued existence and growth of Active and In Touch”, said Dougie. “We hope that working with Frome Medical Practice over the next twelve months will further strengthen our relationship with the team at the practice and highlight the work we do to more people, ensuring that those who are lonely and isolated in Frome receive the support they need.”

To find out more about Active and In Touch please visit their website by clicking here. 

Published: Feb 8, 2022