Today is the day we need to start ‘looking out for our neighbours’

Today sees the launch of a new campaign that aims to help prevent loneliness and social isolation in our communities across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership have launched the ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign which encourages local people to do simple things to look out for one another to help improve the wellbeing of other residents in the area.

Why should I get involved?

According to research from The Health Foundation (December 2018), social isolation can increase the risk of having a stroke by a third, and older people who live alone are 50% more likely to visit A&E than those who live with others.

Findings published in Age UK’s new report “All the lonely people: Loneliness amongst older people” (2018) show that the number of older people who are lonely is rising quickly. This could be a major public health concern because if loneliness is not addressed it can seriously affect people’s health and well-being.

What does the campaign hope to achieve?

The ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign hopes to inspire people to reach out to those who live alone or might need help, and encourage them to do simple things for them that will make a real difference to their wellbeing. This could be anything from picking up some shopping, to saying “hello” or even something as simple as giving a wave next time they see their neighbours.

Cllr Musarrat Khan, Cabinet Member responsible for Public Health said:

“30 or 40 years ago it was the norm in most communities to check on neighbours living on their own and for various reasons we’ve experienced a shift in culture, which has meant more and more people are now isolated. This campaign will highlight the issues around isolation as well as encourage neighbours to be more connected. It will increase a sense of belonging for all those who partake, enhance a sense community and individual feelings of wellbeing.”

What organisations are supporting the campaign?

Around 200 organisations have pledged their support to take part in the campaign from local dementia friendly cafes, to sports clubs (including Leeds Rhinos Foundation & Wakefield Trinity Rugby Club Community Trust), Harrogate Football Club and the Yorkshire Sports Foundations, to housing providers, the Piece Hall Trust, Andy’s Man Club, Macmillan Cancer Charity, hospitals, councils and mental health and wellbeing organisations – the list is endless.

How can I support the campaign?

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 those in need.

For those who don’t receive a hand-delivered pack, all resources are available to download from the campaign website.

Amanda Evans, Service Director for Adult Social Care Operations, Commissioning, Public Health and Adult Social Care, Kirklees Council:

“I am so pleased that we are supporting the ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign. The evidence is really clear about the benefits of reaching out to those who face loneliness and isolation, and also the positive impact on the wellbeing of those who give of their time and through acts of kindness. This is such a great opportunity to help and encourage the communities of Kirklees to look out for one another and stay connected, by just being a little more thoughtful.”

Chris Pointon, Co-founder and Global Campaign Ambassador for the #hellomynameis initiative is also supporting the campaign.

“A simple introduction can go a long way in starting a human connection and striking a conversation. We live in a very diverse society and it is everyone’s responsibility to look out for other people and be kind and considerate.”

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