Norfolk

IGD_CMYKIn Good Company – a campaign to help tackle loneliness in Norfolk
In Good Company is a campaign being run over the next 12 months by more than 20 voluntary and statutory organisations and service providers in Norfolk, with the aim of combatting loneliness among the county’s most vulnerable residents with the key message that no one should spend a lonely day in Norfolk if they don’t want to. Norfolk’s Public Health team estimates that there are 35,000 lonely people in Norfolk over 65 years of age, not to mention those who experience loneliness through isolation because of physical or mental health problems at any age.
Norfolk County Council research among those who receive adult social care in the county also shows that loneliness in older people is the most important factor in their need for these services – more important than their age, wealth or health. Over half of those surveyed who receive a service in the county also said they don’t get the amount of social contact they would like, with a quarter saying they never leave their home.
The effects of loneliness are significant. Norfolk’s Public Health team say it can increase someone’s risk of premature death by 30% and that it can be more harmful to their health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Many people who are suffering loneliness often don’t identify themselves as such – and the effects are instead visible through more visits to GPs and A&E, people falling foul of scams and rogue traders, or a loss of confidence which prevents people from taking active steps towards living independent lives and therefore becoming more reliant on public services.
However, the evidence also shows that alleviating loneliness can help people stay independent for longer.
In the run up to Christmas, often a particularly tough time for people who are lonely, the In Good Company campaign is seeking to focus on promoting the wealth of activities and opportunities in Norfolk that are actively trying to combat loneliness among our older residents. The campaign also helps to give ideas to smaller groups and communities who are looking to set up initiatives locally, as well as linking people to volunteering opportunities.  The campaign will be urging people to visit dedicated webpages at www.norfolk.gov.uk/ingoodcompany
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