A NEW campaign that aims to tackle loneliness and social isolation has been launched at Dewsbury Town Hall.
The ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ scheme encourages people to do simple things to look out for one another to help improve the wellbeing of other residents in the area.
The campaign has been backed by Kim Leadbeater, the sister of the late Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox, and ambassador for the Jo Cox Foundation.
According to research, social isolation can increase the risk of having a stroke by a third, and older people who live alone are 50 per cent 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 well-being.
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.
Kim Leadbeater is supporting the campaign said: "It is heart-warming to see the work that Jo started on this important issue being continued in such a positive way in the county where we grew up. Much of my focus since Jo was killed has been on how we can build compassionate communities and bring people together. The national Great Get Together campaign which we run across the weekend of Jo's birthday in June is the centre piece of this, and it would be wonderful to think that some of the connections which will be made through the 'Looking out for your Neighbours' initiative can be continued and we see lots of Great Get Togethers happening in June as a result! I believe if we all work together to prevent loneliness and its associated health risks, we can reduce the demand on health and care services and have a positive impact on the wellbeing of everyone, which is why I am delighted to support this campaign."
Around 200 organisations have pledged their support, from local dementia-friendly cafes, to sports clubs, hospitals, councils and mental health and wellbeing organisations.
The campaign is running across West Yorkshire and Harrogate and has been created with the help of over 100 residents across the region. 30,000 households 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.