Connect to a Care Home and fight loneliness this Christmas

Somerset County Council and the NHS are encouraging organisations across Somerset to connect to their local care home with a new digital campaign, #ConnectACareHome.

Organisations are being asked to send video messages to their local care homes, to help combat the loneliness and isolation experienced by residents and staff who may have been unable to see their loved ones due to Covid restrictions.

The idea for the campaign came from a small group of NHS and SCC colleagues working together on digital projects. Sarah Moore, Service Manager for the council’s ICT and Tech Transformation team, said: “A lot of time in my job is spent looking at how we can use digital technologies to improve lives for people across Somerset. Working with colleagues in NHS and Adult Social Care alerted me to just how hard this year has been for staff and residents in our care homes, and we were all really keen to do something to create some smiles.

“I contacted my daughters’ schools to suggest we send a video of the children’s Christmas carols and performances to our local care home.  Working with colleagues, we thought why not see if we can connect all our care homes in Somerset this Christmas? It’s never been so important to let them know we care.”

Mel Lock, Somerset County Council’s Director for Adult Social Care, said: “We’ve already sent a message out to schools asking them to take part in this fantastic campaign, sharing videos of their Christmas nativity, special messages from the children, and even Christmas songs. But we’re keen to encourage a wide range of organisations to take part – from local businesses, community groups, charities and more. We don’t want any care homes to be left behind this year, so please help us spread the word.”

David Huxtable, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “It’s been an incredibly difficult year for our care homes this year, and so important that we reach out – we have the technology to connect like never before, so there really is no reason for anyone to be suffering in loneliness and isolation. The #ConnectACareHome campaign is a great way to lift spirits and make a difference this Christmas – let’s get it trending!”

How to take part: 

Find your nearest care home
Visit: CQC – Find a care home and pop in your organisation’s postcode

Get in touch to say hello and introduce yourself
You should be able to find their contact details on Google

Get consent
Make sure the person in the video knows they are being recorded and knows where the video will be shown. Children will need signed consent from parents.

Record your video
This can be done on a phone, or using a camera if you have one. Here are some great tips for filming on your phone.

Edit your video
If recording on a phone, there are free editing apps such as Kinemaster or Inshot which you can use to create your video. You can also use programs such as iMovie for Macs, or Movie Maker if you use Windows. OpenShot works on both Mac and Windows, and is also free.

Upload your video to Youtube
Don’t forget to make it an unlisted video.

Share your video
Email a link of your unlisted Youtube video to your local care home

Delete the video
Have they seen it? Delete the video later if you need to.

Tell us about it!
We’re really keen to hear about all your great videos and messages, so please let us know what you’re doing by emailing CommunicationsTeam@somerset.gov.uk – or tag us on Twitter @SomersetCouncil or on Facebook @SomersetCountyCouncil. Let’s spread some festive cheer and get the hashtag #ConnectACareHome trending this Christmas!

Support is available to anyone who needs it via the Somerset Coronavirus Support Helpline on 0300 790 6275. The helpline is open seven days a week from 8am to 6pm and offers a range of support – from help accessing food or medicines, to emotional and financial support, and employment, skills and business advice.