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Campaign aims to ease loneliness in West Norfolk

Council plan to invest in Norfolk's future.
Council plan to invest in Norfolk's future.

No-one should spend a lonely day in West Norfolk, a new campaign funded to the tune of £2.4 million by the county council has declared.

In Good Company will use the funding to develop new and innovative ways to address the health and wellbeing of people affected by loneliness and social isolation over the next three years.

Community Action Norfolk, West Norfolk Council and Voluntary Norfolk are on board with the campaign.

Bill Borrett, chairman of the county council’s adult social care committee, said: “We are committed to doing all we can to help Norfolk’s residents stay independent, resilient and well for as long as possible.

“So, investing in new ways of preventing loneliness is an important way of achieving this and I am very excited about the prospect of working with our partners on projects that are directly designed to do this over the next three years.”

West Norfolk Council is working with many local voluntary and community organisations through the LILY (Living Independently in Later Life) initiative, and will be awarded a contract to provide a comprehensive range of support in West Norfolk.

Their current initiative is designed to help older people continue to live safely and independently at home.

“With the award of this contract, LILY will be expanded to meet the needs of lonely and isolated adults of all ages.”

Elizabeth Nockolds, borough cabinet member for culture, heritage and health, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded funding for the next three years to continue to deliver and further develop our Ask LILY partnership project.

“These funds will enable us to extend our service to residents of all ages to ensure those experiencing loneliness are able to access appropriate help.

“Our network of providers have a vast array of knowledge and skills, and understand the needs of our local community.

“They offer telephone, online, home and community based support.”

Andy Nazer, campaigns manager for the Campaign to End Loneliness, who was key note speaker at Norfolk’s first Summit to combat loneliness in February added: “We are delighted to see Norfolk County Council is once again leading the way in tackling loneliness. Building resilience and robust, connected communities are key to improving the lives of so many of Norfolk’s residents. We all need friendship and support, no matter what age we are. The In Good Company campaign supported by the County Council will help enable this to happen.”

The three organisations, which were selected through a formal process, will now work closely with local authorities, health and voluntary and community organisations to:

Identify community groups and assets, including the untapped skills and talents of isolated people.

Develop community activities, groups and projects at a local level.

Create and support existing volunteering opportunities for friendship and to help people develop a sense of purpose.

Run outreach projects which will include people living in rural areas.

Provide one-to-one and peer support for people who need a bit of help to enable them to overcome life challenges and to build personal confidence and resilience.

Community Action Norfolk will be awarded a contract to provide a comprehensive range of support in North Norfolk.

Jonathan Clemo, chief executive of Community Action Norfolk said: “Community Action Norfolk and our partners are delighted to be working with Norfolk County Council to address social isolation.”

“Building the strength of our communities is key to ensuring people have the support around them and that no-none is left isolated. This new initiative is an exciting part of how we as a county can work together to prevent ill-health and ensure no-one in Norfolk faces a lonely day.”

Voluntary Norfolk will be awarded contracts to provide a comprehensive range of support in Great Yarmouth, Norwich and South Norfolk.

The charity already supports 1,700 voluntary organisations and has over 200 local voluntary and community sector members.

Alan Hopley, chief executive of Voluntary Norfolk said: “The Voluntary Norfolk Partnership is delighted to be given the opportunity to build upon our existing work with Norfolk’s communities to find new and innovative ways to combat and tackle loneliness and social isolation. Working with a broad range of partners and local stakeholders, we seek to embed a solutions-focused approach which places the voices of local people and communities at the heart of our work. We look forward to working together to build resilient and inclusive communities which help to improve the health and wellbeing of local people.”

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