Here at the Campaign, we are contacted by people every day who care passionately about reducing loneliness in later life in their communities. Many of you are already involved with organisations working with older people, and are looking for advice on how to increase your impact or improve your ways of working. Many are already involved in the Campaign by attending our Learning Network events, contributing to the development of and using our materials, and sharing our communications with your networks.
But many more of you are looking for other ways to make a difference in your communities, but aren’t really sure how to get started on making this happen.
One option, that we always suggest is to start volunteering; with Independent Age or your local Age UK or RVS for example – befriending or helping out at your local community group can be an incredibly fulfilling way of getting involved and making a difference.
However, many of you who get in touch want to do more than volunteer. You want to raise your voices with us to make sure everyone understands how pervasive loneliness is, and how serious a threat it can be to our health. You want to share your frustration that it is not something that is being adequately addressed across our communities. You want to make sure that your leaders in public health and social care recognise the problem and understand how they can best tackle it.
Over the last 3 years, many of you got involved in our Loneliness Harms Health campaign – we asked you to lobby your health and wellbeing board to put loneliness in their joint health and wellbeing strategy and well over 50% boards did. You can read about some of the inspiring campaigns that took place here.
We continue to campaign to ensure that the remaining local authorities recognise the serious health issues associated with loneliness and find ways to address it, and to make sure that those who have committed to taking action keep those promises. You may have seen our new guidance for commissioners and local authorities which sets out the full range of interventions needed from stakeholders across the community, beyond the health and social care sector, to support older people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, loneliness.
And we are asking you, to join us in raising awareness of loneliness in your community, in whatever way you can. You can read about our two new initiatives you can get involved with below:
We have created a range of new resources for people who want to take action on loneliness in later life in their communities, but aren’t really sure where to start. We have provided various materials: information sheets, hints, tips and templates, and even a logo that you can use, to help you get started planning your own local activity. This might mean organising a big one-off awareness raising event or simply going and speaking with a local councillor about your concerns. We have also provided a range of extra materials for those of you who are specifically aiming to lobby your health and wellbeing board and local authority on making a strategic commitment to tackling loneliness. Take a look at what’s available here.
We are also asking our supporters to become more involved in the Campaign by becoming Ambassadors. If you enjoy informing and educating others, meeting new people and making new contacts, we would love to hear from you. We are looking for people to represent the Campaign at events in their region by giving presentations and running stalls, to raise awareness about loneliness in later life and share what can be done about it. We will provide you with training in giving our presentation, as well as FAQs and other materials. If you’re interested, read more here and get in touch here.