Tackling loneliness has always been a priority in Worcestershire but now more than ever following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The Council recognises that there are people of all ages who may be feeling lonely or isolated and the Council wants to encourage everyone to take simple steps to help them feel more connected.
To support people to make connections the County Council and its partners are launching the new ‘Stay Connected Pledge’ and want to urge organisations across Worcestershire to sign up showing their commitment to tackling loneliness.
The pledge encourages organisations to ensure that their groups and clubs are inclusive and welcoming to all. By putting in place some simple measures promoted in the Stay Connected pledge, this will help ensure that they offer opportunities for people to stay connected, in a safe, inclusive and socially distanced manner as per current Government guidelines. Once organisations have signed the pledge they can display the Stay Connected logo. To find out more on the pledge go to: www.worcestershire.gov.uk/stayconnected
Organisations who have signed the pledge to date include District and Borough Councils and a number of voluntary organisations.
Councillor Karen May, who is the newly appointed Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Health and Wellbeing, signed the pledge on behalf of Worcestershire County Council.
Councillor May said: “I’m so proud to be signing the pledge on behalf of the County Council.
“The pledge will demonstrate to people that as an organisation we are committed to tackling loneliness and supporting people to stay connected.
“Loneliness is such a key issue in our society and as we all know; the pandemic and lockdown has impacted all of us in some way or other.
“If this pledge can help to bring communities that little bit closer together then it’s a fantastic idea.”
Sarah Dugan, Chief Executive of Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, said: “As the main provider of mental health services across Herefordshire and Worcestershire, we recognise the impact loneliness and other social factors can play in a person’s overall wellbeing and so we are delighted to be signing the Stay Connected Pledge.
“The last 12 months has had a profound impact on our lives and has led to many more people feeling isolated so it is really important that we share local resources and services which can help.”
Simon Trickett, Chief Executive Officer for Herefordshire and Worcestershire Integrated Care System, said: “I am proud to be signing the pledge on behalf of the NHS alongside so many other partners.
“The pandemic has shown us that no matter your age, anyone can get feelings of loneliness. It’s great to see so many options of support available and I would encourage anyone who does experience loneliness to explore the range of activities on offer.”
Dr Ian Tait, Chair for NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG, added: “We are all facing challenging times and it is normal to experience different emotions and for some of us feelings of loneliness that you might not have encountered before.
“Feelings of loneliness are personal, so everyone’s experience of loneliness will be different. Support is available to help you manage and cope with these feelings. There are some key things you can do to help you feel better either on your own or by connecting with others.”
Loneliness can have a detrimental effect on our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, so it is really important to stay physically and creatively active, which improves our physical and mental health and is one of the five ways to wellbeing. There's more information here on about the Five Ways to Wellbeing (Opens in a new window).
There are many ways in which you and those around you can feel less lonely. Some people find connecting with others is the best way to help with their loneliness, which includes talking with others, catching up with old friends, connecting online and joining new groups, while others prefer to deal with their loneliness alone. For suggestions on ways in which you can stay connected and how to help friends, family or other individuals with their feelings of loneliness go to www.worcestershire.gov.uk/loneliness
Loneliness Awareness Week is hosted each year by the Marmalade Trust. The theme this year is ‘We get lonely. But we don’t all get loneliness’ and the campaign is encouraging people to build upon their understanding of loneliness, so they can help themselves and others to manage feelings of loneliness.