Lochaber Hope launching raft of online coronavirus support groups

Lochaber Hope logo
Lochaber Hope logo

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Lochaber Hope is to host virtual meetings all over Lochaber as a way of helping people tackle feelings of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

The aim is to keep people connected, support each other, share stories, as well as have a laugh, all the while looking out for people who are not coping. This can then be followed up with one to one calls with the charity’s counsellors and mentors.

Lochaber Hope manager, Aylson Smith, says what is needed now is volunteers: ‘We are looking for lots of volunteers who can offer some time to host a Zoom [social media online platform] meeting.

‘This means set up Zoom meetings at a set time of day that suits you, as often or as little as you like to chat to people and support them through this time; the aim is to keep people connected and supported and identify anyone who is not coping and offer them one to one support from our counsellors and mentors.

‘I do a zoom meeting every day at 2-2.30pm and there are some doing Monday to Friday, some Monday, Wednesday, Friday, some evenings and some weekends. Most now seem to be specific, but not necessarily, it can be just to chat – some are doing weekly crafts, creative writing, Light at the End of the Tunnel [anxiety group].’

Other examples of Zoom meetings are:

*Safe To Say for Parents: A safe place to talk about the sensitive stuff involving our children and find understanding – daily.

*Mums’ Home/School Support Group –Run by a teacher/mum of two boys – female only, for mums who are ‘home-educating’. Rant, ask, laugh!  -daily.

*Weekly Women’s Virtual Space – A half-an-hour slot, every Friday, for anyone who identifies as a woman to talk, share positive stories and support each other.

If anyone wants to volunteer, Lochaber Hope will would help you set an online meeting up and would promote it via the charity’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Alyson added: ‘We have about 50 groups currently setting up and need to double and quadruple that to be able to meet the need in the community and help people through this really tough, uncertain time. What you see on the news is happening in our community and we need to look after each other.’

All you need to do is email Alyson at alyson.smith@lochaberhope.org.uk and tell her if you can use Zoom or want help to set up; its easy though and if you have something in mind, tell her what it is and what days and times you can offer.

Alternatively download Zoom and you will be very welcome to join Alyson’s online meeting. This daily at 2-2.30pm on https://us04web.zoom.us/j/966893653 (Check Facebook for other meetings.)