Tackling Social Isolation

The mission of the Hextol Foundation is:

“ to improve the lives of people with disabilities and who may have other disadvantages by creating opportunities to work, providing education and training and developing such other charitable forms of support as required”

We believe that working has many benefits, including creating a sense of purpose, building self-confidence and self-esteem and learning new skills. Work also has a social aspect and allows our volunteers to meet a range of people with a variety of abilities.

Studies show that people living with learning difficulties have a shorter life expectancy, not due to any underlying health condition, but due to social isolation and other issues such as bullying. The Institute of Health Equity say those with learning disabilities will die on average 15-20 years earlier than less vulnerable people in society*.

Here at Hextol we aim to reduce social isolation in a number of ways.

  • Our businesses (The Hextol Tans Café, Greenbox, Catering, Propertyworks and Gardening) all encourage teamwork as we complete group tasks on a daily basis. Each shift sees a small group of volunteers being supported by a trained and experienced supervisor so each volunteer can practise their skills and learn new ones while getting praise they may not receive in other situations.
  • We operate a Lunch Club three times a week at our offices on Gilesgate which provides a an opportunity for our volunteers have a lunch cooked by our Catering team and chat to friends about the events of the day. It’s a perfect opportunity for people working in different businesses to mingle and helps to maintain a sense of team spirit.
  • Another way we work towards reducing social isolation in our community is to host social events for our volunteers. We aim to offer 5-6 events a year, which this year have included: our summer BBQ; a trip to Inspired Pots in Hexham; a bowling evening; and our Christmas party. Each of these events is a fun and relaxed way for our volunteers and staff to build friendships, be creative and meet new people. This year our social events programme has been supported by a grant from Newcastle Building Society which allowed us to host these events at no cost to our volunteers

We were delighted to have members of the Building Society’s team with us on our Inspired Pots trip so they could see how these events benefit those who attend. During their visit they did some filming and interviewed our Chief Executive Bruce Howorth.


If you, or anyone you know, are feeling isolated and think you would benefit from volunteering with The Hextol Foundation, come and chat to us. Call Cherie, our Resourcing Manager, on 01434 605253.

* http://www.instituteofhealthequity.org/resources-reports/a-fair-supportive-society-summary-report

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