Care home volunteer scheme officially launched in Colchester

Essex University's Anya Visegorodceva, FaNs Programme Manager Jan Lockyer, Freda Gunton Lodge reside

Essex University's Anya Visegorodceva, FaNs Programme Manager Jan Lockyer, Freda Gunton Lodge resident Rev Paul Davis, Essex Fire and Rescue Services Les Nicolls, Volunteer Geoff Curd and MHLECA Chair Brian Mister MBE gathered for the launch of Friend and Neighbours (FaNs) on Thursday, 16 April at the Freda Gunton Lodge. - Credit: Su Anderson

A new campaign encouraging people to volunteer in care homes has been officially launched at a Colchester sheltered accommodation scheme.

The Friends and Neighbours (FaNs) initiative has been set up by My Home Life Essex Community Association, supported by Essex County Council and Age UK Essex.

It invites individuals or community groups to spend time with care home residents talking to them, making them laugh, and allowing them the social experience they may not be able to otherwise enjoy.

There is no formal commitment and people can do as much or as little as they want.

The scheme was launched at the Freda Gunton Lodge in Colchester on Thursday afternoon with a celebration event.

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Several groups have already signed up to the campaign and pledged to be FaNs ambassadors, encouraging others to take part, including Colchester United, Essex University Students’ Union and Essex Fire and Rescue Service.

Jan Lockyer, FaNs programme manager, said: “We are really excited to see this campaign come to life.

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“The generous help and extra resources that care homes can get from their local community is great, and the benefits are felt not only by the residents and the care home, but also by the volunteers themselves.”

Find out more about FaNs at

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