‘Looking out for our neighbours’ targets social isolation in Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven
A new campaign that aims to help prevent loneliness and social isolation in local communities is being launched across Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven today (15 March).
The ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign, created by the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, 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 well-being.
Helen Hirst, Chief Officer, NHS Bradford district and Craven clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), said: “We often think of loneliness as something that affects older people, sadly it can affect anyone at any time in their life. So trying to prevent loneliness and the effect on children and young people’s health is important too. That’s why the Partnership has come together to support this important campaign so we can try and make a bigger difference together. On a personal level, we can all do something to help; the smallest gestures can make a huge difference to someone who is feeling alone, even just saying ‘hello’.”
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’ next time they see their neighbours.
Brendan Brown, Chief Executive, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust said: “Loneliness can affect anyone, anywhere, and we are particularly aware across the breadth and diversity of our geography of the impact of rural isolation and loneliness on people’s health and wellbeing. Our community services can, for some people, often be the only contact they have for a period of days. Equally, we know that our increasingly digital world can also create isolation. Bringing people together not only tackles loneliness but also builds stronger communities which, in turn, have a positive impact on health.”
Paul Shevlin, Chief Executive, Craven District Council, said: “District Councils play a vital role in enhancing the health and wellbeing of our residents, and at a time when we are very aware of the impact of loneliness and isolation on physical and mental health it is important to raise awareness of the simple things we can all do to help people feel connected within their community.”
The campaign starts on Friday 15 March 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.
Chris Whiley, Chief Executive of Charity Carers’ Resource support to unpaid carers across the Bradford district, Harrogate and Skipton, said: “We work with many isolated and lonely carers of all ages and circumstances and see first-hand how a lack of contact can affect their confidence and mental health. This wonderful initiative is a timely reminder to make an effort to better get to know our neighbours. A simple smile, a ‘hello’, asking how they are, or something as easy as putting someone’s bins away can transform their day.”
For those who don’t receive a hand-delivered pack, all resources are available to download from the campaign website, ourneighbours.org.uk.
Key to the success of the campaign will be local community organisations and groups working with and in their neighbourhoods.
More than 200 organisations have pledged their support to take part in the campaign from local community groups to sports clubs (including Healthwatch North Yorkshire, Age UK North Craven Keighley Big Local, The Cellar Trust, Incommunities, CNet Bradford and District, Volunteering Bradford, Bradford Trident, Community Action Bradford and District, Bradford Women’s Health Network and Healthwatch Bradford and District) to hospitals, councils, the police and fire service.
Jo’s sister Kim Leadbeater, Ambassador for The Jo Cox Foundation, said: “I feel passionately about creating well-connected communities where everyone is happy and healthy and has a sense of identity and belonging, and 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. 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.”
NHS Bradford district and Craven CCGs’ communications team
Notes to Editors:
In August 2018, West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership allocated £1m to go toward supporting voluntary and community organisations through the WY&H HCP Harnessing the Power of Communities Programme. Community and voluntary partners were allocated additional resources through their partnership work with local councils and the Health and Wellbeing Boards to help tackle loneliness and social isolation which has a major impact on people’s health and wellbeing.
‘Looking out for our neighbours’ is a social marketing campaign which aims to prevent loneliness and its associated health issues by encouraging communities to look after each other, therefore reducing demand on health and care services through early help and preventing ill health. The campaign aims to inspire communities to engage in simple activities that will positively impact on their neighbours wellbeing.
About West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership
West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership focuses on the health and care needs of local people across Bradford District and Craven; Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield. The partnership is made up of a number of organisations who work together to help 2.6 million people in the area including the NHS, councils, Healthwatch, voluntary and community organisations. You can find out more at www.wyhpartnership.co.uk