Grant worth millions to tackle loneliness

Rachel Turton at the cocktail party
Rachel Turton at the cocktail party
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Nearly £6 million is set to be spent in South Yorkshire on tackling isolation among thousands of older people.

The South Yorkshire Housing Association has been given the cash to lead a partnership of 11 organisations, which will use ‘creative and innovative methods’ to target residents over 50 who are at the highest risk of loneliness.

It is estimated that more than 12,000 of Sheffield’s most isolated older people will benefit from the grant, from the Big Lottery Fund.

Over six years, 1,000 workers including housing officers, community pharmacists and supermarket staff will be trained to recognise signs of loneliness, while funds will be used to carry out studies at both Sheffield universities.

Older people will also help other isolated residents to access social activities.

Juliann Hall, care health and wellbeing director for the housing association, said: “We know loneliness has a terrible effect - doubling the risk of dementia, tripling the risk of heart conditions and having an effect on mortality equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”

A cocktail party was held at the White Willows extra care scheme, in Jordanthorpe, to celebrate the grant.