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Reducing social isolation for the future

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South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) receives Big Lottery Fund Grant 

Over 12,000 of Sheffield's most socially isolated older people are to benefit from a £6 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund. The funding will also help pave the way to reduce social isolation for future older generations. 

SYHA will receive the money to lead a partnership of older people who have experience of social isolation. SYHA along with the public, voluntary and private sector organisations will work to engage the over 50s at the highest risk of social isolation. The funding will be used in areas that will include older people on low incomes, carers, BME groups, those experiencing poor mental health and those with limiting conditions living in Sheffield. 

Ageing Better

In developing our vision for Ageing Better in Sheffield, we spoke to more than 500 older people, using creative techniques such as  '20s themed cocktails parties, selfie-booths, on-the-buses interviews and spoken-word events. These imaginative and non-traditional methods sparked revealing conversations about the causes of loneliness, while challenging perceptions of what it means to grow older in our city. There are 177,000 people who are over 50 in Sheffield, and the 12,213 who suffer loneliness will benefit from the initiatives.

By 2021, Sheffield wants to be a recognised centre of excellence for services that reduce loneliness, using knowledge sharing and spreading good practice across the UK and internationally. 

Affect on health

Social isolation and loneliness has a terrible effect on overall health by:

  • doubling the risk of dementia
  • tripling the risk of heart conditions
  • negative impact on mortality equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day

The project

The project will last for six years, and will aim to empower over 12,000 older people in Sheffield to co-design and co-deliver lasting solutions to this problem. 

Over the six years of the Ageing Better investment, the Sheffield partnership will test what methods work and what don't, so that evidence is available to influence services that help reduce isolation for older people in the future. 

The Age Better in Sheffield campaign received national recognition for its innovation at the UK Housing Awards 2015 where it won the 'Outstanding Campaign of the Year ' award. Sheffield is one of 15 partnerships in England sharing £82 million in the Ageing Better investment. 

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