Posted: 26 April, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Pledges pour in as Rotherham loneliness campaign is launched

Pledges pour in as Rotherham loneliness campaign is launched

More than 40 individuals, business and partners pledged to end loneliness for more than 17,000 older people in Rotherham, as a major borough campaign was launched.

Figures released by Age UK reveal 4,000 older people in Rotherham feel lonely every single day of their lives, with a further 13,000 of older people are affected by loneliness at least one day a week*.

That’s why Age UK Rotherham and partners came together to launch ‘Rotherham Less Lonely’, a campaign which aims to mobilise the public to give time, money and services to support the charity’s work in making a difference to isolated older people.

John Healey MP, speaking at an event to launch the campaign, said: “Around 4,000 people in Rotherham people in Rotherham feel lonely all or most of the time. There are 3,877 roads in Rotherham, so in effect, in every road across the borough who feels lonely every day of their lives.

“There must be action across all agencies and beyond.

“You can’t legislate against loneliness. You can’t spend to eradicate loneliness. What counts is simple social contact with other people. So we can all play a part.

“So it is encouraging to see so many agencies in Rotherham coming together to offer their support this critical cause.”

Loneliness is known to leave older people unable to cope with living independently, so the campaign aims to mobilise Rotherham residents to:

• Give money – to support services which help lonely people in Rotherham
• Pledge time – to regularly call in on a lonely older person, or to volunteer for a community service in your area
• Put on events – which bring lonely and isolated people together to meet people
• Raise awareness – of the scale and impact of loneliness on the lives of older people in the borough

Lesley Dabell, chief executive of Age UK Rotherham, said: “It’s hard to imagine a day when you don’t see anyone- no phone call, no email, no text. For thousands of older people in Rotherham that is their reality, every single day of their lives.

“Words are one thing, actions are another. That’s why we need everyone in Rotherham to come forward and give their time, their money or whatever they can afford to help end loneliness in our town.

Laura Ferguson, director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, “Loneliness is a serious social issue for older people and our communities across the UK. It is also a serious health risk as research demonstrates that it has a detrimental impact on mortality, similar to that of life-long smoking.

“We are therefore very pleased to see Rotherham Less Lonely bringing together different organisations to tackle loneliness and social isolation on a local level in their borough. We all have a role to play, a piece of the jigsaw to complete, to ensure that loneliness in older age is prevented and Rotherham Less Lonely is helping to achieve this.”

To donate to the campaign, call 01709 835214. Or for more information about how to back the campaign, visit www.rotherhamlesslonely.org