• Claudia Wace

Rounding Up 2021...

2021 - what a year! It’s no secret that it’s been a challenging one, thanks to the global continuation of the coronavirus and its wide-spread effects. But like most businesses, Connectforce has adapted and developed and we’re really proud of what we’ve been able to achieve in the last 12 months. Indulge us for a few minutes while we walk you through it…

First and foremost, we have four new recruits! We welcomed Katharine, Amber, Anna and Katelyn to the Connectforce gang earlier this year, and they’ve fit in brilliantly. Their work on the Companions scheme and Community Outreach has been so valuable, and we’re thrilled to have them onboard. The only downside to our team doubling in size is trying to find a big enough table for post-work drinks!

Our Companions scheme has gone from strength to strength, creating over 100 intergenerational friendships via almost 500 calls (which equates to over 8000 minutes of chatting)! Our volunteers, Older Companions and care workers have had a really brilliant time connecting, with many pairs continuing to chat and meet in person beyond their ‘official’ 8-week programme. We’re so pleased to have been able to facilitate these meaningful and lasting relationships, and look forward to hearing more Companion stories next year. Here’s the fabulous Nicola talking about her experience on the scheme:

We have to thank our wonderful volunteers, who have gone above and beyond this year - they’ve sent videos, sung songs, organised craft meet-ups, attended cricket games and even spoken about Connectforce on national radio! We promise we won’t get too big for our boots (yet). Amazingly, we’re soon to recruit our landmark 100th volunteer, which we think will merit a bit of a celebration. We feel so lucky to be building such a brilliant community.

As well as the continuation of our Companions scheme, we launched our project with Notting Hill Genesis to provide devices, digital skills and connection to residents living within the housing association. When asked about the programme’s effect, one member of staff stated: “[Without the Companions scheme] the residents can have all day without someone to talk to. The chats give them something to look forward to”. That statement alone makes all the hard work worthwhile!

We’re also on the cusp of launching a totally new programme called Get Vocal, in which we’ll facilitate workshops for young people, designed to improve their transferable skills through acting-based techniques. We have a couple of pilots organised in the coming weeks and will look to kick off the programme officially early next year.

In terms of our work behind the scenes, we’ve been collaborating with Profit for Purpose and UnLtd to develop our long term plan, and have completed our official business plan which sets out the structure and vision for Connectforce’s future. We’ve also landed our very first office space, having been accepted onto the spARK programme with ARK co-working in Kings Cross. It’s all very exciting!

Looking back, it’s been quite a monster of a year at Connectforce headquarters. And all this happened whilst Claudia applied for her Masters and moved house, Vikki began teaching at a world-renowned drama school and Elle went on a UK tour. We’d like to say 2022 might be a little less hectic but we reckon all things Connectforce will be keeping us pretty busy...


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