The fight is on – Copeland Borough Council and Age UK to take on social isolation in Copeland rural areas

by Rachael Grealish

omeone to talk to: Tackling social isolation can be something as little as giving an elderly person someone to talk to   -photo by Alan Cleaver

Someone to talk to: Tackling social isolation can be something as little as giving an elderly person someone to talk to
-photo by Alan Cleaver

LONELINESS can be as harmful to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

While many of us are looking forward to spending time with family and friends, new research from Age UK shows 60% of people aged 65 or over aren’t expecting festive happiness to be part of their Christmas this year.

This is all part of social isolation and loneliness that effects over a million older people nation-wide – and older people in Copeland’s rural communities are not exempt.

Social isolation and loneliness often affects people living on their own, for example: watching TV all day long, staring at four walls, going to bed and then repeating the process day by day.

It causes depression, low self-esteem, a lack of confidence and other health issues which is costly to the NHS.

In light of this Copeland Borough Council, headed by Mayor Mike Starkie, have teamed up with Age UK West Cumbria to tackle this growing issue.

  • On Thursday October 20, they launched a £377,000 Community Connections project, at the Egremont De Lucy Centre.

The project is aimed at identifying those who suffer from social loneliness and tackling each case individually.

At the launch Mary Bradley, of Age UK West Cumbria, said: “This project will enable lonely and isolated people to connect with others in their community and improve their health, well-being and ability to live independently.

“With the Mayor’s support and that of local volunteers, we are excited to tackle loneliness and make a real difference to Copeland’s most isolated and vulnerable people.”

Some of the help on offer is:

  • Individual Befriending
  • Telephone Befriending
  • A volunteer to accompany you to activities for a few sessions until you feel confident enough to go alone or meet up with someone in that group
  •  Information on activities in your area

Copeland Mayor, Mike Starkie, said: “Health and Wellbeing is one of the 4 key parts of the Copeland plan and addressing some of the significant social problems we have in Copeland is very much a key driver for the council, so we are delighted to be working in partnership with Age UK to tackle the very significant issue of social isolation, a problem which is a bigger issue nationally than many might realise and one that is compounded in Copeland by our rurality.

“This launch is one of a number of partnership initiatives that will be launched over the coming weeks to improve lives and the health and wellbeing of people in our borough.”

There are many activities on offer, through the De Lucy Centre, Egremont and Age UK to help those affected by social isolation.

These include: Craft, Knitting and Art Group, Egremont Amblers, the Lunch Club, the Heritage Group and a Computer Drop-In and Mobile Phone Workshop – all which take place weekly.

 


For help, regarding social isolation and loneliness contact Age UK West Cumbria contact the De Lucy Centre on: 01946 828100

Activities, social groups and events can be found online at: ageuk.org.uk/westcumbria
as well as a selection in our What’s on on Page 24 of the newspaper or here: http://www.egremont2day.co.uk/whats-on/


Open doors: Age UK and Egremont De Lucy Centre are eager to help those in the community that are in need  -photo by Robert Haile

Open doors: Age UK and Egremont De Lucy Centre are eager to help those in the community that are in need -photo by Robert Haile