Top award for Broadland in fight against loneliness

Broadland is proud to be the first housing association in Norfolk to achieve an ‘In Good Company Quality Mark Plus’ award.

Norfolk County Council’s top quality mark was awarded for Better Together – our campaign to combat loneliness in local communities.

Better Together is a programme of neighbourhood events and activities that bring together Broadland tenants and staff. People who are lonely are more likely to suffer ill health, rely on public services and lose their independence. Recent research by the Campaign To End Loneliness and London School of Economics also suggests that loneliness is a particular challenge in Norfolk.

“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this award,” says Kevin Gee, Tenancy Support Manager (pictured receiving the award on behalf of the team). “It’s been a real team effort and reflects the hard work that everyone has put in. The idea for Better Together came out of a team discussion 12 months ago about mental health and the impact of loneliness. We were inspired by Norfolk County Council’s In Good Company initiative and the work of the Jo Cox Foundation. What started as a week of activities snowballed – we soon realised it was a much bigger thing, not just among the elderly but young people, new mums and other groups too. We’ve had such an overwhelming positive response from tenants and staff that we decided to expand it into a rolling programme.”

Alison Thomas, Deputy Leader of Norfolk County Council, said:

“Loneliness has become an epidemic across the whole country and here in Norfolk. We know that the problem can only be solved by the support of others and is not a job that just the County Council can do. That’s why organisations applying for our quality mark is so important to us, and why we are so thrilled to give our seal of approval to the amazing work that organisations like Broadland Housing are doing at grass roots level. It’s only by working together that we can truly make a difference to the people of Norfolk.”

Scope of campaign

Broadland’s Better Together campaign started in November 2017. The launch week included talks from experts about the impact of loneliness, personal pledges from staff to take action in their neighbourhoods, pop-up digital learning events (to help tenants stay in touch with friends and family online), and ‘out and about’ visits targeting Broadland’s more remote housing schemes and one-off properties across the county. 

In 2018, Broadland staff will again be reaching out and visiting tenants in isolated communities. There will also be opportunities to get involved in community walks, beach clean-ups and sociable intergenerational events. This follows a popular Christmas craft-making session in King’s Lynn, when local Brownies joined residents at one of Broadland’s sheltered housing schemes. Broadland is encouraging staff to get actively involved in planning future events to tackle loneliness.

Norfolk loneliness summit 2018

The In Good Company Quality Mark award ceremony took place at the Theatre Royal on Friday 23 February 2018. (Watch video) It was part of Norfolk’s first ever summit dedicated to tackling loneliness in the county, attended by over 80 ‘action-takers’ from across the county, including representatives from Broadland Housing. The summit concluded with promises to initiate 15 additional schemes in local communities across the county to help reduce loneliness.

Norfolk County Council’s In Good Company campaign is being run with more than 20 partners from the public and private sector. It is designed to combat loneliness by galvanising individuals and organisations to do as much as they can in local communities to ensure no one spends a lonely day in Norfolk if they don’t want to.