The Piece Hall has announced its support for a new community campaign which aims to prevent loneliness in the community.
The campaign from the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership is called ‘Looking out for our Neighbours’ and aims to help prevent loneliness in local communities by encouraging people to do simple things to look out for one another.
A Health Foundation report in December 2018 highlighted how living alone can make older people 50 per cent more likely to find themselves in A&E than those living with family. Pensioners living alone are also 25 per cent more likely to develop a mental health condition.
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‘Looking out for our Neighbours’ aims to change this by inspiring people to do small things to reach out to the people around them.
The campaign will launch on March 15 across West Yorkshire and Harrogate and has been co-created with over 100 residents in these areas, drawing on their neighbourly experiences.
Rob Webster, CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and CEO for South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “People of all ages can feel alone for a variety of reasons, especially in winter.
"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. As neighbours, we could all look out for each other a bit more and local organisations can also help bring people together in shared endeavours.
"That’s why our Partnership has allocated £1m to support voluntary and community organisations in our local areas - Bradford District and Craven, Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield – bringing greater connection and happiness to our communities.”
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As part of the campaign launch 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 a neighbour in need.
The pack will focus on the simple acts of kindness that will make a huge difference to the people around them - such as meeting for a cuppa, offering a lift or even just saying ‘hello’.
Nicky Chance-Thompson, CEO The Piece Hall Trust, said: “This campaign is a timely reminder of how important it is to take a minute and remember the people we live alongside every day.
"We all know how it feels to have a bad day and while the pressures may be different for everyone, it only takes a kind word or small gesture of help to stop us feeling quite so alone. We are delighted to support the Looking Out for our Neighbours campaign and promoting it within the Calderdale community.”
As well as The Piece Hall, 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, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Healthwatch, hospitals, councils, housing organisations, rugby clubs and many community and voluntary groups.
Kim Leadbeater, Ambassador for The Jo Cox Foundation said: "I am delighted to support the ‘Looking out for our Neighbours’ campaign. In my role as an ambassador for the Jo Cox Foundation I feel passionately about creating well-connected, compassionate communities where everyone is happy and healthy and has a sense of identity and belonging.
"I believe that if we all work together to prevent loneliness and its associated health risks, we can reduce the demand on health and care services and have a positive impact on the wellbeing of everyone".
A campaign website will be up and running from March 15 where anyone can sign up to help with the campaign.