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We’re proud to be ‘Looking out for our Neighbours’

‘Looking out for our Neighbours’ is a new campaign that aims to help prevent loneliness in our communities by encouraging people to do simple things to look out for one another.

Although lots of people in West Yorkshire are already doing great things to help those around them, there is still more we can all do to positively impact on the wellbeing of others.

A Health Foundation report (December 2018) highlighted how living alone can make older people 50% more likely to find themselves in A&E than those living with family. Pensioners living alone are also 25% more likely to develop a mental health condition. ‘Looking out for our Neighbours’ aims to change this – by inspiring people to do small things to reach out to the people around them.

Luen Thompson, our CEO, said: “Caring for children with life-shortening and complex health conditions can be a very lonely experience for many families. Parents and carers can become tied to the home, caring for their child 24/7. They can find it almost impossible to take a moment to meet up with friends – and it’s not easy to have people round when your attention is fully taken up with your child. All of which can have a huge impact on their physical and mental wellbeing. That’s why we welcome the ‘Looking after your neighbours’ campaign – just a little bit of friendly contact, an offer of help, a smile and a hello could help reduce that sense of isolation and help make these families’ lives just a little bit easier.”

Rob Webster, CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and CEO for South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said:

“People of all ages can feel alone for a variety of reasons, especially in winter. This important campaign is a helpful reminder that it’s often the smallest acts of kindness that make the biggest difference to a person’s life. As neighbours, we could all look out for each other a bit more and local organisations can also help bring people together in shared endeavours. That’s why our Partnership has allocated £1m to support voluntary and community organisations in our local areas – Bradford District and Craven, Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield – bringing greater connection and happiness to our communities.”

The campaign will launch on the 15th March across West Yorkshire and Harrogate and has been co-created with over 100 residents in these areas, drawing on their neighbourly experiences.

As part of the campaign launch 30,000 households across West Yorkshire and Harrogate will receive a hand-delivered ‘neighbour pack’ that will include a range of different resources to inspire and encourage residents to champion togetherness in their area and look out for a neighbour in need. The pack will focus on the simple acts of kindness that will make a huge difference to the people around them – such as meeting for a cuppa, offering a lift or even just saying ‘hello’.

As well as Forget Me Not, the campaign is also being backed by a number of other high-profile supporters including organisations such as Jo Cox Loneliness Foundation, the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Healthwatch, hospitals, councils, housing organisations, rugby clubs and many community and voluntary groups.

A campaign website will be live from 15th March where anyone in the region can sign up to the movement, get a personalised helpful neighbour pack and download campaign resources.