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£1 could make a real difference to levels of loneliness in Northumberland

Published on 01 November 2018 07:31 AM

This National Befriending Week [1 – 7 November] the CEO of Age UK Northumberland is calling for support from the community to donate to the charity’s loneliness campaign ‘Everybody Should Have Somebody.’

Age UK Northumberland, which launched its new telephone befriending service in July, says that if everybody in Northumberland gave just £1, it could sustain friendship services, including The Friendship Line, Social Fridays and other services including day centres, for over 10 years.  

Befriending Week is the Befriending Network’s national awareness week, where people and communities are encouraged to recognise the benefits of befriending and its role in tackling loneliness and social isolation. This year’s Befriending Week follows a new initiative from government, which specifically focuses on loneliness.

Helen Mills, CEO, of Age UK Northumberland welcomes the government’s new loneliness strategy and said: “We are keen supporters of and encourage social prescribing; it is a really positive step to see that this is the focus of the strategy.

The biggest challenges for our services users, our staff and volunteers, are the rural landscape of the county and the availability of resources. Our target is to raise £30,000 before the end of the year and if everyone donated to the ‘Everybody Should Have Somebody’ campaign, we could make so much more of a difference to the levels of loneliness in the county.”

Age UK Northumberland tackles loneliness in a variety of ways, from befriending services to signposting, to social day centres, exercise classes and lunch clubs. In 2017/2018, the welfare benefits team gained £1.6 million in benefits for the older people of the county, many of which state this extra income has transformed their lives, enabling them to get out more.

The charity raised over £5,500 at its Annual Dinner at the beginning of October; but this event is just the start of the fundraising efforts, with upcoming campaigns including: a record-breaking firewalk, a skydive, marathon coastal walk and ‘There’s Always Time For Tea’ a campaign created by Age UK Northumberland to encouraging residents and businesses to make time for older people in the county. There is also the option for businesses and organisations to sponsor the Friendship Line. For further information about fundraising for Age UK Northumberland, please contact, Rachel Todd: Rachel.Todd@ageuk-northumberland.org.uk

To make a donation to Age UK Northumberland’s Loneliness Campaign visit:  https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/everybodyshouldhavesomebody or Text ‘Lone30’ followed by the amount to: 70070 e.g. Lone30 £5