More than £2m will bolster help for Norfolk’s 40,000 lonely people
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More than £2m will be pumped in to a campaign to tackle loneliness in Norfolk.
The investment, from Norfolk County Council, aims to boost their In Good Company campaign which hopes to ensure no one in Norfolk has to spend a lonely day if they don't have to.
Community Action Norfolk, King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council and Voluntary Norfolk will use the £2.4m to develop new and innovative ways to address the health and wellbeing of people affected by loneliness and social isolation over the next three years.
Estimates show more than 40,000 people in Norfolk are lonely.
Research by the Local Government Association shows being lonely can increase your risk of premature death by 30pc.
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Bill Borrett, chairman of the county council's adult social care committee said: 'These are people who are more likely to have poor health, to become victims of scams and fraud and more likely to become reliant on public services sooner.
'We are committed to doing all we can to help Norfolk's residents stay independent, resilient and well for as long as possible. So, investing in new ways of preventing loneliness is an important way of achieving this and I am very excited about the prospect of working with our partners on projects that are directly designed to do this over the next three years.'
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The three organisations, which were selected through a formal process, will now work closely with local authorities, health and voluntary and community organisations to:
• Identify community groups and assets, including the untapped skills and talents of isolated people.
• Develop community activities, groups and projects at a local level.
• Create and support existing volunteering opportunities for friendship and to help people develop a sense of purpose.
• Run outreach projects which will include people living in rural areas.
• Provide one-to-one and peer support for people who need a bit of help to enable them to overcome life challenges and to build personal confidence and resilience.
Community Action Norfolk will be awarded a contract to provide a range of support in North Norfolk.
Jonathan Clemo, chief executive of Community Action Norfolk said: 'Building the strength of our communities is key to ensuring people have the support around them and that no-none is left isolated. This new initiative is an exciting part of how we as a county can work together to prevent ill-health and ensure no-one in Norfolk faces a lonely day.'
King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council is working with many local voluntary and community organisations through the LILY (Living Independently in Later Life) initiative, and will be awarded a contract for services in West Norfolk.
Elizabeth Nockolds, the borough council's cabinet member for culture, heritage and health, said: 'These funds will enable us to extend our service to residents of all ages to ensure those experiencing loneliness are able to access appropriate help. Our network of providers have a vast array of knowledge and skills, and understand the needs of our local community. They offer telephone, online, home and community based support.'
While Voluntary Norfolk will work in Great Yarmouth, Norwich and South Norfolk.
The charity already supports 1,700 voluntary organisations and has over 200 local voluntary and community sector members.
Alan Hopley, chief executive of Voluntary Norfolk said: 'Working with a broad range of partners and local stakeholders, we seek to embed a solutions-focused approach which places the voices of local people and communities at the heart of our work. We look forward to working together to build resilient and inclusive communities which help to improve the health and wellbeing of local people.'