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Looking out for our neighbours

Looking out for our neighbours

‘Looking out for our neighbours’ targets social isolation in Calderdale

A campaign has been launched aiming to help prevent loneliness and social isolation in neighbourhoods around Calderdale and across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership’s ‘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 people living in their communities.

In Calderdale, the campaign was officially launched during Calderdale Council’s ‘We Are Calderdale’ event at Calderdale College, where delegates gathered to focus on Vision 2024:  a collective vision setting out what Calderdale wants to become by 2024 when the local authority becomes 50 years old.

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.

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 nipping to the shop for them to saying “hello”, or even something as simple as giving a wave next time they see their neighbours.

The campaign complements much of the work done in Calderdale by the Staying Well programme in helping those over the age of 18 who may be experiencing loneliness and social isolation to access social activities and health and wellbeing related services in the community.

Organisations from around our area have pledged their support to the campaign, including the Memory Lane dementia friendly café, Overgate Hospice, the Halifax Opportunities Trust, Andy’s Man Club, Voluntary Action Calderdale, The Piece Hall Trust,  Together Housing, Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees, Calderdale Council and local NHS organisations.

The campaign is also being backed by a number of other high-profile supporters including organisations such as Jo Cox Loneliness Foundation, the Yorkshire Ambulance Service and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Dr Matt Walsh, chief officer for Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“The more we learn about the reasons why people use the NHS, the more clearly we understand the role that loneliness and social isolation plays. In order to be well and happy, we need to feel that we are part of things. This campaign is about reminding us that we all have a part to play in that. A smile and a ‘hello’ is sometimes all it takes to help someone through the day”.

Robin Tuddenham, chief executive Calderdale Council, said:

“We’ve already got some great examples of projects around West Yorkshire and Harrogate where the public sector is partnering with voluntary and community organisations to tackle loneliness and bring people together in positive ways.

“This campaign will allow the good work to continue and spread further, brightening the lives and improving the health of thousands more people in our region.

“As chief executive for Calderdale Council, I’m right behind the campaign. Kindness is at the heart of our vision for place, and we know that acts of kindness, no matter how small, can make a real positive difference in people’s lives.”

The campaign launches across West Yorkshire and Harrogate on Friday 15 March and has 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. To download your neighbour pack or to find out more about the campaign, visit www.calderdaleccg.nhs.uk/neighbours

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