£1m funding to help lonely folk

Calderdale Council's new director of public health Paul Butcher
Calderdale Council's new director of public health Paul Butcher

Calderdale Council and NHS is investing £1 million funding to tackle loneliness in the lives of people across the region.

Loneliness causes depression and increases a person’s chance of developing dementia by two thirds as well as reduce average life expectancy.

Council and NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) finance will devise a programme which works with existing community organisations and trusts to strengthen and build on current support.

The programme will establish a group of experts who will form partnerships with the public, private and voluntary sectors; improve access for people; engage community schemes; encourage community involvement and generally raise awareness of ‘loneliness’.

Programme implementation is expected to reduce GP calls and admissions to hospitals, care homes and carers’ services.

Calderdale Council’s director of public health Paul Butcher, said: “We are still in the early stages of planning the programme but we have already researched schemes which have worked well in other areas.

“This could include befriending lonely older people providing them with regular contact with a friendly face; activity clubs where people can meet to prepare and share meals for those who struggle to cook and mobile solutions to help dementia sufferers get around.”

Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for health inequalities coun Simon Young (Lab, Ludd Foot), said: “Having a good social network, including family, friends and neighbours enriches our lives by providing company and support through good times and bad. No one should be lonely.”