Around 20 people attended an information session about Care Home Friends held in Urban Soul Venue at May Street Church on October 5. This is a GB-based charity which is aiming to establish itself in Northern Ireland. The objective is to partner church congregations with local nursing and residential homes and for members of congregations to become befrienders of various residents.
The charity’s director, Tina English, and the volunteer co-ordinator, Enid Kimmerling, travelled across from England to address the meeting, which was arranged by Michael McMillan, an activity nurse from a Belfast nursing home. A former nurse, Tina is a Christian who had a vision of churches across the UK adopting care homes. She said she did a simple sum. “There are about 50,000 churches in the UK and 17,500 care homes,” she said. “I thought if one in three churches started a care home friend project there would be a lot less isolation and loneliness.”
Care Home Friends is one of the organisations which is currently accredited by Cinnamon Network, a Christian charity which is aiming to see the project expand throughout the UK. Tommy Stewart, the Advisor and Leadership Trainer of Cinnamon Network in Northern Ireland, who attended the information session, said: “If you think your church could be one of these churches which can provide befrienders, please contact Tina English.”