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

Posted on February 7, 2019

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 Leeds 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. 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.

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

“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.”

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’.

“A simple introduction can go a long way in starting a human connection and striking a conversation. We live in a very diverse society and it is everyone’s responsibility to look out for other people and be kind and considerate.”  says Chris Pointon, Co-founder and Global Campaign Ambassador for the #hellomynameis initiative.

Ant Hanlon, CEO, Leeds Irish Health & Homes said “This campaign reminds us of times gone by when neighbours would look in on each other, and have a chat, especially important for elderly who may not speak to anyone for days. Our recently launched Cara Too (Cara meaning Friend in Irish) service is for anyone of any background, over the age of fifty who are living without any meaningful activity or social interaction in the community and in care homes’. We can all do our part to reduce social isolation and care for one another by a small gesture like saying hello to a neighbour”.

As well as ourselves, 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.

Kim Leadbeater, Ambassador for The Jo Cox Foundation says: “I am delighted to support the ‘Looking out for our Neighbours’ campaign. In my role as an ambassador for the Jo Cox Foundation I feel passionately about creating well-connected, compassionate communities where everyone is happy and healthy and has a sense of identity and belonging. I believe that if we all work together to prevent loneliness and its associated health risks, we can reduce the demand on health and care services and have a positive impact on the wellbeing of everyone”.

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

Chris Pointon sums it up well, as he concludes: “This campaign is a gentle reminder for us all to look out for others – a simple ‘hello, my name is…’ or ‘can I help you in any way’ goes a long way to making someone feel included and cared for. I am more than happy for both myself and the #hellomynameis campaign (that my late wife and I started) to support the Looking Out for our Neighbours campaign.”