We’re backing charity’s #Cooee campaign for neighbours

We are supporting a charity campaign for people each lunchtime during the COVID-19 restrictions to open their windows and shout ‘hello’ to their neighbours.

We provide an invaluable lifeline to the people we visit each day to help them with their medical, emotional and physical care. Before the Coronavirus, our frontline teams also assisted many of our service users with trips out, now they are, very sensibly, all remaining safely at home until the danger has passed. But in the meantime, for many of those we visit, we know they are feeling lonelier and more vulnerable than ever.

We saw Communicare in Southampton’s idea on social media and thought it would help cheer-up our service users, who are understandably not feeling as jolly as normal and are worried. Communicare is a charity, helping the isolated and lonely, and although it is based in Southampton, it is hoping its campaign will go nationwide.

Each lunchtime, they’re asking anyone who is at home, regardless of whether they a vulnerable and elderly, to shout ‘cooee’ or ‘hello’, 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, they hope enough people will do this at 12noon nationwide every day to help those who are housebound at the moment realise they are not alone. We think this is a great idea, not just for our service users but also for anyone at home in these uncertain times, who might like to hear a cheery voice.

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

Communicare in Southampton’s Manager, Annie Clewlow says: “Those in the high risk and vulnerable categories  are unable, understandably, to access the lunch clubs and activities we and other charities like us nationwide 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 their social media channels to support and share this with their online networks and communities. We hope individuals, charities, businesses and organisations in cities, towns and villages nationwide will 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.

“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.”