Strong social connections within and between communities is one factor in achieving good health and living longer lives. That’s why all of the Trust’s funding programmes place a strong emphasis on building social connections as the foundation for increased confidence, skills, voice, and aspiration.
The Stronger Together project run by Live Cancer Free, an organisation based in Leicester, was founded through an overwhelming desire to provide a social group for women in the area. The project enables women to build their confidence and foster a sense of belonging in the community by providing them with the opportunity to mix with other women, make friends and take time out for themselves. The group offers a wide range of activities includes baking and cake decorating, food preparation, swimming, exercise, and crafting classes.
One of the members who have been enrolled in the Stronger Together project for over a year now, Lilly Ahmed, said “I was a stay at home mum while I joined the project, had begun to suffer from low confidence and lacked self-esteem.
“I felt like the skills I had were limited but as soon as I joined the project last year, I was able to build myself back up, make new friends and get the support that I needed to believe in myself. After the project taught me how to bake, I started a home baking business and enrolled myself into college at the age of 45 to upskill myself even further.
Thanks to the excellent mentors at the project, I have confidence to pursue my dreams, and that really wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t join the project”.
Social connections are also a very important foundation for other positive changes to health and wellbeing, and when connections are formed, other benefits quickly follow. Dr Abeer, the founder of the Live Cancer Free group said “At first, I started the organisation as a small support group for women suffering from cancer in the local area. I wanted to offer them a safe space to receive the support they needed and meet other women who were going through similar situations. However, more and more women started joining the group, the sessions became bigger every week and it became clear there was a real demand for the services we were providing.
I’m always surprised at how successful the project turned out to be and the fact that it is still growing, but I couldn’t be happier that we’re in a position to be able to support all those women in the local community”.
Live Cancer Free and their project ‘Stronger Together’ is funded through the Trust’s Active Communities programme with money raised by Health Lottery East Midlands.
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