Friendship, food and phonecalls – how you’re helping combat loneliness
By 2030 the number of people aged 60 or over is expected to pass the 20 million mark. With old age, often comes loneliness and isolation. This issue is being tackled by The National Lottery and our players.
In 2016/17 you helped contribute over £75M to charitable projects that support older people. Here, we showcase just three Lottery funded projects that are going above and beyond to combat loneliness and isolation across the UK.
The Silver Line
The Silver Line was set up with a National Lottery grant in 2013 to provide a free confidential helpline offering information, friendship and advice to older people, 24/7. The scheme has been a huge success, receiving over 1500 calls a day and has expanded to include a telephone friendship service along with a friendship letter writing programme. Trevor, 70, said he finds night-times ‘difficult’: “The day will feel like 12 hours whereas the nights feel like 24. To be able to talk to somebody at any time has helped make the nights feel much shorter.” The helpline number is: 0800 4 70 80 90.
“To be able to talk to somebody at any time has helped make the nights feel much shorter.”
Dance to Health
Dance to Health is a new, nationwide pioneering dance programme for older people. Hosted by dance professionals, the classes combine physiotherapy with the creativity and energy of dance, which helps to reduce falls by up to 55%. While participants enjoy the dancing, many of them have built friendships as a result of the classes. Frank, who also takes part in the sessions agrees, “It’s getting out of your house, meeting new people, new faces.”
The Food for Life Better Care project is run by The Soil Association. It works with senior citizens to develop programmes to give older people in care more dietary support. With the support of our players, the project helps improve the food experience of residents in care situations, supports volunteers working with older people and improves food support from home care visits.
Still in its early stages, the programme hopes to harness the power of good food to improve the health and wellbeing of old people.
The next time you pop to the shops to get your elderly next door neighbour a pint of milk, don’t forget to play a National Lottery game. Thanks to you, millions of older people are getting the help and support they need to overcome loneliness.