The project will provide personalised activities; acting at individual, neighbourhood and city-wide levels, across all sectors to build circles of support. We will develop preventative social networks, as well as supporting lonely people out of isolation. Valuing older people’s strengths and enabling mutual support are crucial.
To focus our project we identified the gaps in current service provision and those at greatest risk of social isolation and loneliness. A mixed method of literature reviews, asset mapping, consultations and data analysis resulted in identifying groups as most at risk:
- Restricted to their home environment (including care homes) through ill-health, disability and dementia
- Living alone, coping with personal circumstances which reduce their social networks and confidence (e.g. bereavement, retirement, poverty)
- Those whose social/cultural needs are not fully met:- men, BME elders, Learning Disabled and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender seniors.
The foundation of the project plan is a “5 C’s” strategy:
...to change societal attitudes and behaviours towards older people by promoting an age-friendly city; raising awareness that loneliness is “everybody’s business”.
...with older people from street level up within local neighbourhoods and across services, businesses and communities, creating wider, stronger networks.
...and friendships at home and helping people to get out; offering weekend/evening activities; focusing on those currently excluded and extending digital and transport opportunities.
...Small funds will be accessible via a bidding process by any third sector organisation looking to increase their capacity to reach socially isolated older people. It is anticipated that this could include recruitment and support of volunteers to reach socially isolated older people, pilot projects that use new approaches to reaching and including socially isolated older people and training to reach specific Time to Shine target.
...older people will manage, design activities and engage in development, evaluation and dissemination of learning.
Throughout the life of the project, we will be sharing updates and real-life examples of how our work is making a difference, and what we have learned from the different approaches.