County Hall-5

Pioneering bid to tackle loneliness in the over 50s to get green light

A community-based scheme to tackle loneliness in Lancashire is set to be given the green light this week.

Lancashire County Council's cabinet will approve proposals to award a total of  £100,000 across a range of voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise organisations to address loneliness in the over 50s.

This initiative follows a series of consultations and listening exercises carried out by the council's communities team this spring to find out about people's experiences of being lonely and what helped them to become more socially connected.

The team spoke to 107 people from across the region, and the vast majority said they were lonely due to personal reasons, such as bereavement or an absent family member, giving mental health, mobility and chronic illness as reasons for their lack of sense of community.

The consultations also highlighted the need for volunteers, more transport options, central services, community events, and accessibility as well as issues such as lack of a sense of community, which contribute to loneliness in people among the age bracket.

Lancashire County Council awards are to be made to a range of recipients, including The Sewing Rooms, a Lancashire wide network which will get £35,000 for a scheme involving up to 100 local participants aged 50 and over, who get an interactive guide to wellbeing and support to use their skills and experience to connect with their community.

Charity Age UK has also received £30,000 to extend its pioneering 'Good Day Calls' service for a further six months which see a trained member of staff making friendly checks on the welfare of a person aged 65 and over while the charity will also get £10,000 as match funding for their 'loneliness navigators' Reaching Communities bid, supporting chronically lonely people.

Meanwhile, a social isolation grant pot of £15,000 will go to Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) and £10,000 to Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Council for Voluntary Service (CVS).

County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: "We are committed to helping individuals and local communities by tackling isolation and loneliness in all walks of life.

"This is why we are working hard with our partners in health care and our district councils to make this grant funding available for a range of projects which could really help alleviate loneliness and isolation."

County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "I am very pleased that we are going to award this vital funding for a range of events and activities aimed at tackling loneliness among the over 50s.

"Consultations have shown that loneliness and social isolation can have a very negative impact on people's mental health and wellbeing, so this funding will help a whole range of events and activities to alleviate this."