One of the action sub-groups is focused on social isolation. They have undertaken a scoping exercise to discover what services are available in some of our communities and where there are gaps. They also did a survey to discover some of the barriers there are to engagement for lonely people. 93 responses were received. As a group they have also been made aware that the best thing we can do is get with people ourselves, and have been take some action ourselves in inviting our neighbours round for coffee!
Local charities such as [email protected] are already working in this area. At a recent meeting David Thomas attended and spoke to us about Cycling Without Age https://cyclingwithoutage.org/. This is an initiative designed to get lonely/isolated/elderly people out and about and to improve their mental health. He is working to get it started in Northampton.
Britain is the loneliness capital of Europe, and Social isolation was the number one concern raised as part of the Northants ROC conversation. Whilst most raised the issue of loneliness of the elderly, thought to be caused by social isolation, it is worth noting that loneliness amongst young mums, men and young people, was also raised.
The impact of social isolation is linked to the reduced sense of community in general. The negative impact of this is well known, with increased levels of poor mental health, support levels across the board, leading to higher demand on statutory services.
This ROC action group is seeking to find ways to connect people together and support the building of community in Northampton.