An emerging trend we are seeing in our work is more and more people are feeling isolated and lonely.  An online survey carried out by Research First in 2023 supports this, but concerningly the finding also confirm that loneliness is highest among our Rangatahi.

Kindness, such as a friendly ear, can go a long way towards helping people and the privilege of these encounters brings with it many joys. Practical support, like food parcels, help through an immediate and pressing crisis or need. But systemic or deeper issues faced by people can be hard to spot except by a trained and experienced eye. Unless we recognise this need for additional support and thread in the kind of help that will make a difference, all we are doing is binding people to us and bringing them back to emergency or crisis assistance over and over again. 

CSS regularly receive calls from people desperate for connection. And to safely respond to these needs we are looking for ways to connect with Parish and other communities to whom we can refer people. As CSS is an MSD accredited social service agency, we have strict privacy, safeguarding, and safety protocols. Before we can make referrals to community groups or volunteers who offer friendship and connection, they must meet certain minimum criteria.

How Catholic Social Services can support your visitation and friendships ministry 

CSS has developed a programme to do ensure that we can refer people to community volunteers in a way that meets our criteria and supports the work the community is already doing. By coaching and empowering teams  and volunteers to carry out this ministry more safely CSS provides  the tools to recognise when appropriate help  needs to be threaded into the relationships.  It is about strengthening and supporting communities, building local capacity and addressing the rising numbers of people experiencing loneliness and isolation.

CSS are currently working with two groups, St Joseph’s parish Levin and Our lady Of Kāpiti in Paraparamu.  It has been a privilege supporting these groups as they grow this ministry in their communities. We welcome any enquiries and the opportunity to meet with your groups to see how we can support the work you do. Call Deirdre Meskill 043858642 or email

Donations to support this mahi can be made online here.

Meeting the Needs of People who are Isolated and Lonely

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