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New awards to showcase those in Norfolk saving people from loneliness

PUBLISHED: 10:02 30 August 2017 | UPDATED: 14:27 30 August 2017

Organisations which help combat loneliness can apply for a quality mark. Picture: James Bass.

Organisations which help combat loneliness can apply for a quality mark. Picture: James Bass.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2010

Shops, pubs, parish councils and other community organisations which stop people in Norfolk being lonely are being urged to apply for an award to showcase their efforts.

The new In Good Company Quality Mark has been launched to recognise the work being done to prevent isolation and loneliness in the county.

The new mark is part of the In Good Company campaign being run by over 20 organisations, and backed by the Eastern Daily Press, to help combat the increasing problem of loneliness.

Bill Borrett, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s adult social services committee, said: “The response to our county’s In Good Company campaign has been great, and was the first step in us acknowledging the impact that loneliness has on our services and that reducing social isolation in Norfolk’s communities is vital if we want to help more people retain their independence.

“Local businesses and community organisations are key in tackling this issue, as they may be the only social contact isolated people have.

“I know that many of these organisations are doing a huge amount to tackle this problem and the In Good Company Quality Mark is one way of recognising and endorsing all of the work they are doing for their local communities.”

Louise Smith, director of public health, said: “We know that loneliness is associated with a heightened risk of mortality, depression, sleep problems, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and stroke.

“So anything we can do to stop people feeling socially isolated will have a positive impact on the number of people diagnosed with these problems and reduce the need for health care intervention.”

Successful recipients of the award will be able to show how they help those who may be feeling isolated, as well as actively publicising and promoting anti-loneliness events and encouraging staff to get involved too.

There is also a special ‘plus’ mark, to acknowledge extra activity above and beyond the usual commitment.

There is no deadline for applications and no limit on the number of quality marks that can be awarded.

Awards will be made quarterly, with the first round this autumn.

Applications can be made at www.norfolk.gov.uk/ingoodcompany

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