Today, 1st October, is UK Older People’s Day and in the run up, our blog has been promoting various events being held to celebrate the achievements and contributions that older people make to society.
Days of the year that highlight a particular cause are clearly helpful but there is a whole lot more going on to ensure that Leeds is a city for all ages everyday and this includesfinding out what people think about what it is like to live in Leeds. Tomorrow and the rest of the year is no less important.
Leeds Older People’s Forum supports organisations throughout Leeds that provide services for older people. It has recently secured funding from the Big Lottery of £1M per year for the next 6 years, starting July 2015. This will be used to help tackle the loneliness and isolation experienced by many older people in Leeds.
There are 246,000 older people in Leeds, and 14,500 of these are aged over 85. Numbers are growing every year and it is estimated that about 15% of older people are lonely and socially isolated. This amounts to 37,000 people in Leeds. The funding from Big Lottery will help establish a wide range of services and projects to tackle this serious and growing problem.
Loneliness blights both individual lives and our communities through unhappiness and ill-health. This puts carers and relatives under enormous pressure and so Leeds Older People’s Forum will aim to reach at least 15,000 older people and help them to move out of the shadows cast by loneliness. Older people need not experience loneliness as an inevitable consequence of ageing.
Working with a wide range of partner organisations including Leeds City Council, Voluntary and Business Sectors the project will:
promote Leeds as an age friendly city,
develop inter-generational links,
improve connections with older people from street level upwards,
provide support and friendships at home,
increase number of volunteers in local communities.
This project will build on the excellent work already being done across Leeds and focus on the more vulnerable, hard to reach people.
Most importantly of all – older people will be at the heart of managing and designing all of this work.
Bill Rollinson MBE, Chair of Leeds Older People’s Forum says
“This is great news for Leeds. We will offer older people in Leeds currently living in the shadows of loneliness a time to shine. This is why we have called our project “Out of the Shadows: Time to Shine”.