Looking out for our neighbours: Acts of kindness to deal with loneliness returns

A healthcare partnership across parts of North and West Yorkshire is returning to help prevent loneliness and social isolation this winter.

Friday, 27th December 2019, 10:00 am

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership’s community campaign ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ started last week and comes off the back of a successful campaign earlier this year when local people carried out 46,000 “acts of kindness” in their local neighbourhoods across Wakefield, Bradford; Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees and Leeds.

Some 72 per cent of people believed that the campaign has made a positive difference to their neighbours’ wellbeing and now the Partnership wants to encourage even more people to get involved.

It comes five years after a campaign by The Express’ sister paper The Yorkshire Post launched what was to become an award-winning campaign highlighting the devastating effects of loneliness and also as national organisation, Age UK, reveals that more than one million older people say they go more than a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.

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Chief Executive of South West Yorkshire NHS Foundation Trust Rob Webster.

The launch of the winter phase of the campaign aims to once again inspire people to reach out to those who live alone and encourage them to do simple things that will make a real difference to their neighbours’ wellbeing.

This could be anything from offering to pick up something from the shops when the weather is bad, to gritting their paths and drives, to inviting people who live alone to celebrate the festive season together.

Rob Webster, CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and CEO for South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘The motivation of all those involved in the campaign earlier this year was overwhelming. It’s heartening to hear what can be achieved when we all come together to offer simple acts of kindness.

“Many people feel more alone in winter with the long dark nights, especially older neighbours who can go days without seeing or talking to anyone.

“It’s a very sad fact that can easily be sorted by us all pulling together to do out bit. It can be as easy as saying hello’,” he added.

Since the launch of the campaign earlier this year, ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ has received support from more than 350 high-profile supporters including organisations such as Jo Cox Loneliness Foundation, the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, West Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services and high profile sports clubs and celebrities.

The campaign runs until March 2020 and provides helpful tips and advice to inspire individuals to do small things to look out for their neighbour during the winter.