Yorkshire Housing’s neighbourhood team in North Yorkshire are working on a joint initiative to combat loneliness.
Staff at the Skipton hub have joined forces with Craven District Council to promote the Looking Out for Our Neighbours project.
It is a social media campaign encouraging people to do more to be good neighbours where they live.
The scheme, which covers Craven, Harrogate and West Yorkshire, is being run by the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership.
Research showed it is likely that some residents in an area can be either lonely or need a helping hand.
Studies also showed social isolation can, for example, increase the risk of having a stroke by a third (Health Foundation, 2010).
Yorkshire Housing’s neighbourhood team in Skipton helped develop initiatives to reduce the impact.
Tenants on the Greatwood and Horseclose estates were involved in setting the local campaign’s themes.
Ideas included the award-winning Scoff Café and Sunday social and women’s groups, which meet at the Greatwood Community Centre.
Community centre manager Karen McIntyre, who is also our community development adviser, believes isolation and loneliness has risen on the estates due to the reduction or removal of services.
She added: “We don’t have any shops or pubs on the estate anymore, so we have to find new ways to bring people together and look out for each other.”
Other simple actions to reduce loneliness can include:
- Taking letters to the post box for someone;
- helping someone fill in a form or use a computer;
- offering a lift to a GP or hospital appointment;
- taking someone for a trip to a cafe or local community event;
- and organising a regular get-together.
Looking Out for Our Neighbours works in tandem with a separate Stronger Communities project which supports areas where public sector and other services might have stopped.
Michael Hewson, our neighbourhood services manager in Craven, said: “As support services are no longer available as they once were, this important campaign is a helpful reminder that it’s often the smallest acts of kindness that make the biggest difference to a person’s life.
“Local organisations, like Yorkshire Housing, can help bring people together in shared endeavours and I am proud of our involvement in doing just that.”
The Looking Out for Our Neighbours campaign is endorsed by Paul Shevlin, who is the chief executive of Craven District Council.
He said: “I fully support this initiative. 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.”
For more information and resources please visit https://ourneighbours.org.uk/