More than 1,600 people have benefitted from the Reconnections service since it launched two years ago.
Reconnections is aimed at reducing loneliness in Worcestershire. Around 35,000 people in the county suffer from loneliness or social isolation.
The service matches people with activities and groups through a network of volunteers. Since 2016, over 1,600 over-50s have benefitted from the service and over the past 12 months, 687 referrals have been made.
Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor John Smith, said: "Loneliness and social isolation is a growing problem up and down the country.
"Since its launch in 2016, Reconnections has worked with over 1,600 people who have made new friends and now lead happier lives. I'm proud that Worcestershire is leading the way in this field and setting a good example for other areas of the country."
One of the people to connect with the Reconnections service recently was Doreen. Doreen moved to Worcestershire to be near her daughter, who sadly passed away. Her declining mobility and lack of local friends and family left Doreen feeling lonely and depressed.
After she was referred to the service by her local GP, Doreen was matched to Reconnections volunteer Linda who regularly visits and calls.
With Linda’s help, Doreen is now getting out more and growing in confidence. She has joined in with several trips and activities.
Doreen said: “I’ve come alive again. Now that I’m going out, I feel so happy that I’m looking to buy new clothes again. I haven’t seen my dentist for three years but I’m doing that as well. Reconnections is the best thing that my doctor has ever prescribed for me. I went for my 81st MOT and it’s the best thing my doctor could have given me. They are all marvellous.”
The Reconnections service is commissioned by Worcestershire County Council and is provided by Age UK Herefordshire and Worcestershire, together with local voluntary and community organisations.
Reconnections covers the whole of Worcestershire and aims to reduce older people’s feelings of loneliness by reconnecting them with interests, sharing skills and activities in their local communities.
Worcestershire’s ageing population and an increasing financial pressure on health and social care creates a need to better support older people in their own communities, to help them live more independent lives. By connecting people to those around them, they can stay happier and healthier for longer which is a key priority for Worcestershire County Council.
If you would like to refer a lonely older person or would like to volunteer with Reconnections call 01905 740954 or visit www.reconnectionsservice.org.uk