• Scene Media

City residents asked each lunch time to shout ‘hello’ to neighbours

PEOPLE living in Southampton and other cities, towns and villages nationwide are being asked each lunchtime at 12noon to open their windows and shout ‘hello’ to their neighbours (April 2020).

A charity, helping the city’s isolated and lonely, says it wants to raise awareness of those who were already isolated before the Coronavirus outbreak and are now staying at home.

Communicare Manager, Annie Clewlow says: “These people are unable, understandably, to access the lunch clubs and activities we would normally run, which are now closed, and we want them all to stay safely at home. But we know they will still need our support. We want to encourage people to reach out, metaphorically, to those they live near.

“We’re launching the hashtag #Cooee and asking people through our social media channels to shout this, or any form of friendly greeting, from an open window or over the garden fence, wall or hedge at a safe social distance to their next door neighbours. Even if they can’t see them or their windows aren’t open, we hope enough people will do this at 12noon nationwide every day from April 6 to help those who are housebound at the moment realise they are not alone.

“We want other cities, towns and villages nationwide to follow suit and to get this hashtag trending on social media, as more and more of us find ourselves at home for longer periods of time. It’s a great fun thing for children to do too and we’d love to see people’s videos of themselves shouting ‘cooeee’ out of their windows. Hopefully this will help release some happy endorphins, in what is a very stressful time for us all, and for people to realise they are not alone.”

Communicare is a friendly, neighbourhood charity that wants to eradicate loneliness and isolation in Southampton with the assistance of its band of Communiteers, who volunteer to give their time freely.

It is also hoping the campaign will raise awareness for the work it does.

Annie says: “Even chatting over the garden fence at a safe distance would help those who are lonely, and naturally worried, and have become even more isolated as a result of the situation we’re all in. They need regular contact from someone trustworthy. For this reason, we would not recommend knocking on doors of those who won’t already recognise you as a near neighbour. Remembering to keep a safe social distance apart at all times is also vital. If you want to help the lonely and isolated in our city, then we advise you to volunteer via us, so all the necessary procedures are followed.”

Communicare’s Good Neighbours’ Network normally supports nearly 400 individuals/families annually, covering more than 2,300 tasks including one-to-one befriending, transport to activities, such as the regular lunch clubs and tea parties it hosts and shopping for, or with, those it helps. All the assistance offered is free to users, although beneficiaries are invited to make a donation if they are able, and Communiteers are offered expenses.”

Please note the Communicare offices are now closed but staff are available via email and social media.

To find out more, please, visit www.communicareinsouthampton.org.uk.

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