Sheffield housing association spearheads national scheme to end loneliness

Launch of End Loneliness strategy
Launch of End Loneliness strategy

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Sheffield’s South Yorkshire Housing Association joined the Minister for Loneliness, Tracey Crouch, at the launch of the Government’s first ever loneliness strategy.

The association was invited because its social prescribing service has been shown as a solution for improving health. It will now become available to those who might benefit from it across the nation by 2023.

Social prescribing enables GPs to offer non-medical treatments to people who are lonely or isolated.

Individuals are linked to an advisor who helps them to connect with groups and organisations in their communities.

SYHA has seen remarkable improvements in their customers’ health and well-being across Doncaster and Barnsley as a result of social prescribing, with 81 per cent of customers feeling more confident in managing their health, 68 per cent of customers reducing their GP visits, and money saved for the NHS.

Joe Hall, service manager at SYHA said “The launch event with Tracey Crouch was extremely moving, with so much passion to tackle loneliness across the country.

“We’ve seen first-hand how powerful social prescribing can be to help reduce loneliness and isolation. 

Lisa, a social prescribing customer in Barnsley said “The advisors have offered me practical and emotional support throughout, and their encouragement has been incredible."

SYHA also delivers the six year Big Lottery funded project Age Better in Sheffield, which reduces loneliness and isolation for those aged 50 and over.

In the past three years the project has worked in partnership with volunteers and a number of organisations across the city including Sheffield Mind, SOAR Community and Ignite Imaginations to support over 2,500 older people.

Ruth Hawke, Programme Delivery Manager for Age Better in Sheffield said, “We are so pleased that Government have released a comprehensive strategy which combines a number of solutions to tackle loneliness.

“We know the impact that loneliness has on health.”

Age Better in Sheffield is set to announce a number of new projects for people aged 50 and over to get involved with.

You can find out more by emailing agebettersheff@syha.co.uk, or call Joanne on 0114 2900 294.