Preventing loneliness was put right in the spotlight on January 17, with work ranging from individual contacts and group work in West Leeds, right through to major government policy announcements in Westminster.
BEA General Manager Lee Ingham was invited by Rachel Reeves (Leeds West MP, and BEA Patron) along with Bill Graham (Community Leader at New Wortley Community Association) to attend Prime Minister’s Question Time and a reception at 10 Downing Street.
The reception, hosted by the Prime Minister, came in response to the publication last month of a report – Combatting loneliness one conversation at a time – by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness. Rachel Reeves has been working on the Commission (with fellow MP Seema Kennedy) since the murder of her friend Jo Cox MP.
Lee and Bill were both in the Commons when the PM announced the appointment of a Minister for Loneliness (Tracey Crouch MP), one of the report’s recommendations.
They both then went on to the Downing Street reception to mark Jo Cox’s legacy and the important work of the Commission.
“BEA was honoured to accompany our patron (Rachel Reeves) at the 10 Downing Street reception for Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness. The appointment of a Minister for Loneliness should help us to continue the fight against loneliness.” Lee Ingham (General Manager, BEA)
“Great to be able to represent & highlight the innovative work done by many organisations in West Leeds at No.10 Downing Street to tackle loneliness. We are looking forward to being part of a conversation that highlights how community and connecting people can become a core health outcome that will benefit society as a whole.” Bill Graham (Community Leader, New Wortley Community Association)
The same morning ITV Calendar filmed BEA’s exercise class at Bramley Community Centre, and interviewed participants and BEA Activities Co-ordinator Debbie Fawthrop. The piece, shown on Calendar, highlighted the crucial role of BEA’s work in preventing loneliness, and the importance of volunteers.
Bramley Elderly Action and New Wortley Community Association are among the key organisations in helping to prevent loneliness, which can people of any age can feel, in West Leeds. BEA runs a large range of groups and services for local people aged 60+, and offers volunteeirng opportunities to people aged 18+. New Wortley Community Association provides activities and services of the whole of their local community.