A campaign which aims to combat loneliness across West Yorkshire and Harrogate has inspired hundreds of people across the area to take conscious steps to look out for those around them.
The ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign, commissioned by West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership launched on the 15th of March with the aim of helping to prevent loneliness and improve the wellbeing of residents in the area.
Campaign activity has included the distribution of ‘helpful neighbour packs’ across Calderdale that includes a range of different resources to help residents take simple, positive action to look out for a neighbour in need.
Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week, people across West Yorkshire and Harrogate have shared their stories of how the movement has inspired them and those around them to make a positive difference in their local community.
Chris Harvey, Secretary at the Memory Lane Café in Sowerby Bridge, which is a dementia friendly cafe there to support those living with memory loss as well as their family, friends and carers, is a supporter of the campaign.
“Looking out for our neighbours’ is a great idea. What I think is really good about the campaign is the way it shows people that you don’t need to do big things to make big changes.
“It’s the small things, it’s talking to people and enquiring if they’re alright, offering to do a little bit of shopping. It’s that kind of thing, and that’s the kind of ethos we offer at Memory Lane Café.”
The campaign has also received support from over 350 supporters including high-profile organisations such as Jo Cox Loneliness Foundation and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
Kim Leadbeater, sister of the late Jo Cox MP and Ambassador for The Jo Cox Foundation. Kim said:
“Looking out for the newly bereaved and others whose loneliness may trigger health problems is something we can all do. I feel passionately about creating well-connected communities where everyone is happy and healthy and has a sense of identity and belonging. It’s wonderful to know that some of the connections being made through the ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign can be continued as part of The Great Get Together, which takes place on the weekend of Jo’s birthday in June. I believe if we all work together to prevent loneliness and its associated health risks, we can have a positive impact on the wellbeing of everyone – during Mental Health Awareness Week and beyond.”
Another key supporter, Rob Webster, CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and CEO for South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said:
“It’s wonderful to hear about the positive difference the campaign is making across the area. For many years, the Mental Health Foundation has built evidence showing the link between loneliness and mental health problems. Many people feel lonely at some point in their lives, whether this is due to bereavement, divorce or other life changing events and without the support of family and friendships it can be very difficult to overcome. I’m very proud my Trust and the Partnership is working together with our communities to highlight the causes and effects of loneliness and social isolation and importantly trying to do something to help.”
Karl Jordan is participant, turned facilitator, for Andy’s Man Club in Wakefield. Karl started attending Andy’s Man Club in July 2018 and said:
“Andy’s Man Club is a sanctuary for men to talk openly about anything that they may be struggling with. Since the Club started in 2017 its growth has been exceptional throughout the UK, and it currently helps on average 376 men per week. The Club helps men to offload about the weight of modern-day life from those who may be struggling with depression, alcoholism, substance abuse, anxiety, suicide and even loneliness. At Andy’s Man Club they understand that loneliness can be a precursor to other health and wellbeing issues; predominately mental health challenges. The simplest of actions can prevent or help to reduce the risk of suicide, self-harm or mental health deterioration. For example, asking for your neighbours mobile number and texting them to check up on them can make a big difference.”
Since the launch, over 350 supporters have signed up to back the campaign, promoting its message throughout their organisation and within their community. The campaign has also received attention on social media, with the hashtag #OurNeighbours being used over 1000 times. In addition to the 30,000 helpful neighbour packs distributed, a further 600 people have downloaded a digital version of the pack from the campaign website.
To download your own helpful neighbour pack or find out more about the ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign, visit: ourneighbours.org.uk
Memory Lane Cafe
Memory Lane Cafe is run by June and Chris Harvey and supported by a team of volunteers. The group was set up to support those living with dementia, other forms of memory loss or isolation in Sowerby Bridge, Halifax and the surrounding areas.
Their cafes are open to all and currently held at St Paul’s Methodist Church in Sowerby Bridge on the 2nd & 4th Saturday of each month:
and in Halifax on the 1st & 3rd Saturday of each month at the Maurice Jagger Centre.
For more information visitwww.memorylanecafe.org
‘Looking out for our neighbours’ is a social marketing campaign commissioned by West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership. The campaign aims to prevent loneliness and its associated health issues by encouraging communities to look after each other. The campaign aims to inspire communities to engage in simple wellbeing activities that will positively impact on their neighbours. Find out more at: ourneighbours.org.uk
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. Find out more at: wyhpartnership.co.uk
In August 2018, the Partnership allocated £1m to go toward supporting voluntary and community organisations to help tackle loneliness. Find out more at: wyhpartnership.co.uk/our-priorities/preventing-ill-health/loneliness