West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership is launching a new campaign that aims to help prevent loneliness and social isolation in communities today – which Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust is supporting.
The ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign encourages local people to do simple things to look out for one another to help improve the wellbeing of other residents in the area.
According to research from The Health Foundation (December 2018), social isolation can increase the risk of having a stroke by a third, and older people who live alone are 50% more likely to visit A&E than those who live with others.
Findings published in Age UK’s new report “All the lonely people: Loneliness amongst older people” (2018) show that the number of older people who are lonely is rising quickly. This could be a major public health concern because if loneliness is not addressed it can seriously affect people’s health and wellbeing.
The ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign hopes to inspire people to reach out to those who live alone or might need help, and encourage them to do simple things for them that will make a real difference to their wellbeing. This could be anything from picking up some shopping, to saying “hello” or even something as simple as giving a wave next time they see their neighbours.
Around 200 organisations have pledged their support to take part in the campaign from local dementia friendly cafes, to sports clubs (including Leeds Rhinos Foundation & Wakefield Trinity Rugby Club Community Trust), Harrogate Town Football Club and the Yorkshire Sports Foundations, to housing providers, the Piece Hall Trust, Andy’s Man Club, Macmillan Cancer Charity, hospitals, councils and mental health and wellbeing organisations – the list is endless.
Dr Ros Tolcher, the Trust’s Chief Executive, said: “Looking out for our neighbours is an important message for us all – and it’s often the simplest of things that can make a big difference to people living alone, single parents or older people. This campaign is a reminder for us all – should we ever need one – to say hello, ask if someone wants anything from the shops or if you can move their wheelie bins. Acts of kindness are endless and it doesn’t take much to make someone feel they aren’t alone”.
Rob Webster, CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and CEO for South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “In August 2018, the Partnership allocated £1m to go toward supporting voluntary and community organisations. Further funding from the Partnership’s Urgent and Emergency Programme Board will support the campaign. People of all ages can feel alone for a variety of reasons, for example following bereavement, a change in relationship or becoming unemployed. This important campaign is a helpful reminder that it’s often the smallest acts of kindness that make the biggest difference to a person’s life. As neighbours, we could all look out for each other a bit more and local organisations can also help bring people together in shared activities.”
The campaign starts today and will run across West Yorkshire and Harrogate. It’s been created with the help of over 100 residents across the region. 30,000 households across West Yorkshire and Harrogate will receive a hand-delivered ‘neighbour pack’ that will include a range of different resources to inspire and encourage residents to champion togetherness in their area and look out for those in need.
For those who don’t receive a hand-delivered pack, all resources are available to download from the campaign website, OurNeighbours.org.uk.
The Key to the success of the campaign will be local community organisations and groups working with and in their neighbourhoods.