Network of support for Leeds’s lonely

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£1m has already been committed to tackling loneliness among the city’s older residents since a ground-breaking project won lottery funding.

Leeds Older People’s Forum’s Out of the Shadows: Time to Shine project won £6m funding in September last year from the Big Lottery Fund, and aims to help 15,000 people from the grip of isolation.

It is being supported by Leeds Council and members of its executive board will be told of the impact of the project at its meeting on Wednesday.

Time to Shine has already made “significant progress” since it officially began in April, and 15 delivery partners have been commissioned to provide a number of “innovative” activities across the city to address social isolation, a report for the meeting said.

They include Action for Gipton Elderly, who will work to engage older people living in tower blocks in the Wykebeck Valley area. Other groups involved will include Touchstone Sikh Elders, and Yorkshire MESMAC who with Age UK, will develop services for elderly LGBT people.

Coun Lisa Mulherin, Leeds Council’s executive member for health, wellbeing and adults, said the project will have “a genuine, tangible impact” on the lives of older people in Leeds.

“Loneliness and social isolation are not an inevitable consequence of getting older, but far too many older people in our city are slipping through the cracks,” she said.

“By investing in organisations that work directly within local communities, together we can create a network of support that can help thousands of elderly residents escape loneliness’s devastating grip.”

Bill Rollinson, chairman of Leeds Older People’s Forum, said: “A wide range of organisations are being funded to deliver creative and exciting schemes to tackle this major problem of loneliness.

“We are very fortunate in Leeds in having a vibrant voluntary and community sector that is supporting this work.”