Lottery funding won to fight loneliness

Thousands of lonely older people in Portsmouth and surrounding areas are about to receive a helping hand.

Age UK Portsmouth and Gosport Voluntary Action have been awarded funding from the National Lottery’s Partnerships Fund and are working together with South-Central Ambulance Service and the University of Portsmouth to reduce loneliness and isolation in older people.

The three-year project aims to ease pressure on ambulance services, offering support, advice and companionship to older, frequent callers with no medical needs.

Carol Elliott, business development manager at Age UK Portsmouth said: “We are extremely pleased to have been awarded funding from The National Lottery to provide this service in Portsmouth and Gosport.

“Loneliness can negatively affect health and wellbeing, as much as smoking or obesity and puts a strain on local health services.

“There are currently an estimated 18,000 lonely older people in Portsmouth and Gosport and we hope that our project will lessen that number and reduce the pressure local health services face.”

The project will be assessed by members of the University of Portsmouth Ageing Network, a group of researchers, professionals, and public members with expertise in ageing.

People who are housebound and/or very lonely but want to continue living independently could be offered befriending opportunities such as having one-to-one visitor once a week and in time can choose to attend a Come Here and Talk (CHAT) group, in which they can meet other befriendees within their community.

Information and advice on a range of subjects can also be offered to older people, from legal issues and family matters to advocacy, welfare benefits and entitlements.

The project is due to start taking referrals from January 2019, these can be directly via telephone, email and/or face-to-face.

For more information please contact Carol Elliott on 023 9286 2121 or email carol.elliott@ageukportsmouth.org.uk

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