THOUSANDS of Wirral residents are to be trained as 'volunteer connectors' as part of a service tackling loneliness, social isolation and deprivation in Wirral.

Since 2017, the Community Connectors have supported Wirral residents to increase community cohesion, by working in deprived areas to improve overall wellbeing.

In the last year, they have worked with more than 2,300 people across the borough.

The new contract, in which thousands of residents will be trained as 'volunteer connectors' starts in February.

Cllr Chris Jones, cabinet member for adult care and health, said: "The Community Connectors service have taken great strides in tackling deprivation and decreasing social isolation in Wirral since 2017.

"In just a few short years, the Connectors have become a stable support network for residents in need of support, but not knowing how to access it.

"I'm proud to announce that we will be widening this service, introducing the Connectors to new patches across the borough."

The Connectors promote active inclusion, through a range of interventions.

They are noted across Wirral for their orange shirts and regular community 'door-knocks'.

These events offer an opportunity for health partners, local charities and community services to work together to meet face-to-face with residents, discussing the issues that affect their mental health and wellbeing.

The new contract, funded by Wirral Public Health, will see services reach to new areas in the borough.

Justine Molyneux, chief executive of Involve North West said: "I think I speak on behalf of my fantastic staff and volunteers at Involve when I say that we are over the moon to be continuing this work across Wirral.

"The overall aim of this service has always been to engage the disengaged and we plan to forge ahead with this by setting up the Wirral peninsula as a network of people who support one another.

"Our Community Connectors, will continue to provide outreach and 1:1 support to even more residents, encouraging them to access social groups and activities within the community and also engage with health and wellbeing services."

In addition to tackling deprivation right across Wirral, Involve in partnership with Heathwatch Wirral will engage and support a further 10,000 people with signposting, volunteering, training and information.

Aiming to engage with 3,000 individuals in the contract’s first year, the idea stems from Involve’s current 'Good Neighbour Scheme' which has seen thousands of Wirral residents sign up and show their support to improve their local areas.

Justine Molyneux said: "From February 2020, we will be creating and delivering a bespoke training programme, tailored to Wirral's residents and needs, which will be delivered across the borough.

"The programme aims to create a network of volunteer community connectors."

Between February 17, 2017 and March 19 this year, Community Connectors have knocked on more than 59,028 doors and spoken to 13,414 individuals have been spoken to on their doorstep.