Community solutions to reduce loneliness

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Age UK Portsmouth and Gosport Voluntary Action have been awarded funding from the National Lottery’s Community Fund and are working together to reduce loneliness and isolation amongst older people.           

The four-year continuation project, named Close Encounters, aims to improve people’s access to community support through companionship, information, advice, and advocacy services. Bringing local people together, the charities will enable participants to become more active within their community. The impact of the project will be evaluated by the University of Portsmouth.

Alex Massey, Project Manager at Age UK Portsmouth and Dawn Ward, Wellbeing Manager at Gosport Voluntary Action, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded funding from The National Lottery to provide this service in Portsmouth, Gosport and the surrounding areas.

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

We’ll work to make a positive difference to older people’s wellbeing.”

The project is divided into four independent strands; befriending, facilitated support, advocacy, and information provision. Combining each strand into one collaborative project, Age UK Portsmouth and Gosport Voluntary Action aim to integrate older people back into their communities.

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 social group, in which they can meet other befriendees within their community.

Information, advice and advocacy on a range of subjects can also be available to older people, from money and matters to welfare benefits and entitlements.

The project is now taking referrals these can be directly via telephone to Age UK Portsmouth on 023 9288 3522 or to Gosport Voluntary Action on 023 9260 4686.

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