Preventing loneliness – West Leeds to Westminster

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, andBill Graham and Lee Ingham outside No.10 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.

What the world needs now! Help us raise funds to prevent social isolation

Bramley Elderly Action has made a short video to raise funds to prevent loneliness and social isolation. The video features members of Bramley Elderly Action, including the BEA Singers, supporting each other.

See our video What the World Needs Now

Please donate £5.00 at bit.ly/bramleyea500, and consider making a regular donation by standing order, or think about supporting us regularly by joining our Lucky Numbers Club.

Please share the video widely on social media, and with anyone who you think may wish to support our members.

The video was fun to make for everyone  –  we used an iPhone taped to a mobility walker to do the filming, and another phone taped to a broom handle as a microphone, all at a decked out Bramley Lawn.

Outreach Worker Simon filming at Bramley Lawn

We support older people to stay healthy, indpendent and involved through a wide range of activities.

‘When I open my  curtains on a Tuesday, I know the sun is going to shine because it’s the day my befriender visits’

(BEA member)

This could be your nan or your granddad; your parents or perhaps, one day, you!

Christmas is a magical time for many. But for some it is very lonely, bringing up memories of Christmases gone by. It’s a particularly important time to think of people who may be lonely.

‘My hopes for the world and Bramley are that nobody is lonely at any of the time’

Lilly, aged 10

Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health: lacking social connections is as serious a risk to health and early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day*.

  • 17% of older people in the UK are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week and 11% are in contact less than once a month (Victor et al, 2003)
  • Over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over live alone (ONS, 2010)
  • Two fifths all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company (Age UK, 2014)

Bramley Elderly Action Patron Rachel Reeves MP will be co-chairing the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness which launches in January 2017. We’re very pleased that she will be helping this vital issue reach a wider national audience.

Please donate £5.00 at bit.ly/bramleyea500, and consider making a regular donation by standing order.

For more information

*Campaign to End Loneliness Research Hub