Published On: Mon, Sep 8th, 2014 on 2:02 pm

£6m project to help fight loneliness among Leeds’s elderly

Elderly Person

A groundbreaking strategy to stop thousands of older people in Leeds becoming victims of loneliness has secured a £6m lottery grant.

The Leeds Older People’s Forum (LOPF) will receive £1m a year for the next six years to help keep older people in touch with their communities to avoid social isolation and loneliness.

There are 246,000 older people in Leeds, and 14,500 of these are aged over 85.

Numbers are growing every year and it is estimated that 37,000 people in Leeds are lonely and socially isolated.

Working with Leeds City Council alongside the voluntary and business sectors, the LOPF project, entitled Out of the Shadows: Time to Shine, will aim to promote Leeds as an age friendly city, develop inter-generational links, provide support and friendships at home and increase volunteers in local communities.

Bill Rollinson MBE, chairman of the Leeds Older People’s Forum, said: “This is great news for Leeds. We will offer older people in Leeds currently living in the shadows of loneliness a time to shine.”

The funding came from the Big Lottery’s Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better programme, which saw 100 local authorities bid for a share of the money.

The Leeds bid was put together by Leeds City Council and LOPF after a consultation with over 800 older people, carers and community organisations across the city.

Mick Ward, the council’s head of commissioning for adult social care, said: “The feedback on the Leeds bid particularly noted the breadth and strength of the partnerships in Leeds and the fact that loneliness is recognised as a priority in the city really helped us put a strong bid together.

“Now, thanks to the outstanding commitment of everyone involved, we have been able to secure this vital funding that will help us strike a crucial blow in the fight to end loneliness.”

LOPF, which established in 1994, will now oversee work to provide a new range of activities, building on existing older people’s networks and a wide range of community services to expand work into further parts of the city.

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