Neighbours campaign sparks positive action

A campaign which aims to combat loneliness across West Yorkshire and Harrogate has inspired hundreds of people across the area to take conscious steps to look out for those around them.

The ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign, commissioned by West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership launched on the 15th of March with the aim of helping to prevent loneliness and improve the wellbeing of residents in the area.

Campaign activity has included the distribution of ‘helpful neighbour packs’ across Kirklees that includes a range of different resources to help residents take simple, positive action to look out for a neighbour in need.

Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week, people across West Yorkshire and Harrogate have shared their stories of how the movement has inspired them and those around them to make a positive difference in their local community.

The campaign has also received support from over 350 supporters including high-profile organisations such as Jo Cox Loneliness Foundation.

Carol McKenna, Chief Officer for North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group and Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group:

“Tackling loneliness is something we can all very easily take part in. It doesn’t need to be much – a simple hello, a smile or asking how someone is feeling can make a huge difference to a person’s life. I’m fully supportive of this campaign – it’s a great example of how the smallest of actions when done together can go a long way towards creating a real impact on those around us”.

Kim Leadbeater, sister of the late Jo Cox MP and Ambassador for The Jo Cox Foundation. Kim said:

“Looking out for the newly bereaved and others whose loneliness may trigger health problems is something we can all do. I feel passionately about creating well-connected communities where everyone is happy and healthy and has a sense of identity and belonging. It’s wonderful to know that some of the connections being made through the ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign can be continued as part of The Great Get Together, which takes place on the weekend of Jo’s birthday in June. I believe if we all work together to prevent loneliness and its associated health risks, we can have a positive impact on the wellbeing of everyone – during Mental Health Awareness Week and beyond.”

Another key supporter, Rob Webster, CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and CEO for South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said:

“It’s wonderful to hear about the positive difference the campaign is making across the area. For many years, the Mental Health Foundation has built evidence showing the link between loneliness and mental health problems. Many people feel lonely at some point in their lives, whether this is due to bereavement, divorce or other life changing events and without the support of family and friendships it can be very difficult to overcome.  I’m very proud my Trust and the Partnership is working together with our communities to highlight the causes and effects of loneliness and social isolation and importantly trying to do something to help.”

Since the launch, over 350 supporters have signed up to back the campaign, promoting its message throughout their organisation and within their community. The campaign has also received attention on social media, with the hashtag #OurNeighbours being used over 1000 times. In addition to the 30,000 helpful neighbour packs distributed, a further 600 people have downloaded a digital version of the pack from the campaign website.

To download your own helpful neighbour pack or find out more about the ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign, visit: ourneighbours.org.uk

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