The Speaker of the House of Commons has added his backing to our trust's ongoing partnership campaign to beat loneliness and help those struggling with their mental health and wellbeing over the winter lockdown months.

Chorley MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle alongside Preston North End and Blackpool Football Clubs and veterans organisations are now supporting the #BeaWinterFriend campaign, which encourages everyone to continue to look out for their families, friends and neighbours by staying in touch safely and virtually during the continuing Covid-19 pandemic.

The trust and partners across the area recognise that there is a real need, during this crucial period for the NHS, for everyone to continue to support people who are at risk of being lonely and socially isolated.

#BeaWinterFriend was the brainchild of Kevin O’Hara, from our Partnership and Development Team. Building on his experience of working on previous loneliness initiatives, Kevin knew that due to the lockdown that loneliness and isolation could place even more pressure on NHS Services.

Kevin said:

“We are delighted to now have the Speaker of the House of Commons and other great organisations on board with our campaign

The Initiative is about promoting self-care, people safely supporting each other and showcasing what all our fantastic organisations across Lancashire and South Cumbria are doing.

Even during these severe lockdown restrictions, people and organisations are preventing loneliness by keeping people connected in so many safe and socially distant ways. By being a Winter Friend everyone can help support NHS frontline services and I’m delighted we continue to have some really high-profile figures and organisations supporting our campaign.”

Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he was “absolutely blown away” by the #BeaWinterFriend initiative.

Lindsay added:

“We know what a difficult time it’s been, but none more so than now, as we go into the wet, the cold and the dark of winter.

Please sign up and be part of #BeaWinterFriend. The NHS is involved, the veterans are involved and you can be too. It’s a great idea – let’s make sure that we help each other through this.”

Preston North End along with Blackpool Football Club have continuously been supporting their fans and communities with some great initiatives during lockdown including befriending phone calls, online social groups and socially distancing ‘doorstep’ conversations. Preston were keen to get their players involved.

Captain Alan Browne said:

“I’m pleased to be supporting the #BeaWinterFriend campaign, which is highlighting the need for us all to stay in touch with our friends, family, and loved ones, both through this difficult lockdown period and beyond.

Pledging to #BeaWinterFriend is a great way of supporting those who are feeling lonely or socially isolated. It’s important to look out for each other – a quick chat and other small acts of kindness can go a long way to improving someone’s mood during this time.”

Meanwhile, Chorley manager Jamie Vermiglio, whose team has brought joy to lots of people with their FA Cup run is asking all of us all to offer a little hope to others.

Jamie said:

"We’re hoping our FA Cup experiences have brought a little bit of light to everyone in what has been a very difficult period. So, please spread a little bit of love, a little bit of happiness, give a bit of time…anything you want. Do your bit to make those around you happy and #BeaWinterFriend.”

More tips and advice will be shared using the hashtag #BeaWinterFriend and please share all your supporting Initiatives using the hashtag and follow @BeaWinterFriend