Tuesday, 03 October 2017 19:16

Council bid to combat rural isolation

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Council bid to combat rural isolation

A RURAL council has launched a special group to combat loneliness in the countryside.

Boston Borough Council in Lincolnshire said the isolation – especially in rural areas – had been shown to have major impact on health and well-being.

More than nine million people in the UK say they are always or often lonely - from young mums to the elderly to the recently retired.

The problem can be even more acute in rural areas where social isolation is also a factor, said the council.

    See also: Can car sharing end rural isolation?

Recognising this, the local authority has set up a 'task and finish inquiry group' to address rural loneliness.

Council office Sharon Warner said she hoped to work with parish councils and other partners and agencies to ease the problem.

Research had already started and information is being gathered about organisations and groups in the parishes in a bid to improve community engagement.

The group also wants to hear about success stories shown to combat the effects of social isolation.

The group aims to improve channels of communication for residents while involving them in local issues.

It says it wants to increase take-up at community events and increase accessibility to the council for parish residents.

There will be a particular focus on improving public engagementwith the borough and parish councils – including young people and schools.

The council said it also wanted to raise awareness in the community of the services available to residents from local government and voluntary sectors such as transport.

The group has already held very positive meetings with parish councils and other agencies.

It has also started to assist with communication in areas such as social media to get messages out to residents and listen to their concerns.

A British Red Cross scheme is already up and running in the market town to lend a helping hand to people who feel alone.

The British Red Cross Connecting Communities project offers a 12-week support period via dedicated volunteers and a "community connector" with no charge to individuals.

The support is tailored to the wishes of residents, enabling people to realise the things they want to achieve.

Together they will develop a specially-tailored plan of activities.

The aim is to help by rediscovering interests, rebuilding independence, finding new friends and enjoying staying involved.

British Red Cross say they want to enable those involved to develop the confidence to continue with the activities of their choice, unaided at the end of the 12-week period.

Referrals can be made by individuals themselves, family members, health professionals, other charities and organisations by telephone to 0345 054 7171 option 1. Please ask for a Connecting Communities referral.

For more information about the project, contact Sharon Warner on 01205 314266.

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