As communities across Wales gear up for The Great Get Together celebrations in tribute to the late Jo Cox this weekend, Age Cymru is launching a raft of initiatives and supporting a number of ‘get togethers’ to help tackle loneliness and isolation amongst older people.
Following the success of our afternoon tea party with the Principality Building Society at the Cardiff and Vale College, we will be joining AMs for a Great Get Together Breakfast at the Senedd, before joining voluntary groups at the Canna Ale House in Canton, Cardiff for a chat over a light lunch.
The week will be culminating with a roundtable discussion in Newport on loneliness where representatives from universities, housing associations, voluntary groups and religious bodies will showcase their ideas to combat loneliness, and will be hearing how community members came together in RCT’s Pontyclun to run a successful club for the over 50s.
During the event Age Cymru will publicise its No one should have no one manifesto that says 75,000 older people in Wales have reported ‘always or often’ feeling lonely. The document warns that loneliness can lead to both physical and mental ill health and thereby increase pressures on already stretched health and social services.
Throughout the week, the charity will be drawing inspiration and sharing information from our recent conversations with older people about their experiences of loneliness. The conversations will be published as an online blog to help inspire the Welsh public to connect with older people in their own communities.
Age Cymru’s Chief Executive Ian Thomas said: “Loneliness is a terrible experience to endure and it can happen to anyone of us but it is particularly prevalent amongst older people. As families move further afield and loved ones pass away, older people can quickly find themselves lonely and isolated. The situation can be compounded by cuts to local services such as day centres or public transport. All too soon the loneliness and isolation can lead to physical and mental health problems.
“But it doesn’t have to be this way. As the Jo Cox campaign has shown, communities can come together to support each other and include one another in a range of activities. At the same time the providers of public services need to better understand how the withdrawal of basic services can have a devastating impact the quality of life for an older person.
“We would urge older people who are feeling lonely to call our free telephone advice line for information and advice on 08000 223 444.”
Tackling loneliness: Case Study
Café 50 is the new name of an invigorated day centre situated in Rhondda Cynon Taf’s Pontyclun, following the threat of closure as a result of financial cuts by the local authority.
A community partnership involving Pontyclun Community Council, local businesses, and voluntary groups was formed to save the centre and it now provides affordable meals in a sociable setting alongside information talks, crafts and IT classes for the local over 50s. It also provides specialist services for those living with dementia, and exercise classes for those with limited movement.
Local law firm Full Stop Law, won the Age Cymru Small Business Award 2017 for its role in supporting Café 50.
For more information about Café 50 call 01443 238500.