footer

Irish Afternoon Tea Dance

South Leeds Group tackling loneliness and improving health & wellbeing

Each year we carry out client surveys whereby we contact everyone who has attended our groups, luncheons clubs, trips and activities, so that we can be sure and are confident we are offering exactly what our service users expect and enjoy.

We have recently carried out a survey of our South Leeds Group, this is a lovely social group of like-minded Irish men and women who get together fortnightly at St Anthony’s Church Hall in Beeston and enjoy ‘ trips out, music, conversation and all that’s Irish!’ and of course good company.

The findings of this report can be seen below;

South Leeds Group – 2015/16

Through looking at the feedback from the service users who attend the South Leeds Group there is a positive affect being made to those individuals who attend. It is believed that 17% of older people are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week and 11% in contact less than once a month (Campaign to End Loneliness. 2017)[1]. The main aim of the South Leeds Group is to alleviate social isolation; it is shown that the group is doing this.  The report demonstrates how the group helps/improve their wellbeing with many people stating it helps them get out of the house and meet new people. With over half of all older people (aged over 75) living on their own and around 3.9 million (2/5th) of older people stating the TV is their main company (Campaign to End Loneliness. 2017), the South Leeds Group offers a few hours in a social environment to those who attend where they are able to communicate and speak to people of the same age and socialise. Seán Moynihan (Chief Executive of Alone) says that older people who live alone often have limited social interactions with the outside world, it is also believed that loneliness among older people is to be as damaging to their health as smoking  15 cigarettes a day (The Irish Times. 2015)[2]. It is believed that group activities are great use when trying to reduce the number of elderly people who are isolated and loneliness (Age UK)[3].  Again going back to the main aim of the group, meeting as a group fortnightly allows the individuals to alleviate the isolation and loneliness that may be present in their life currently. This is done through having a cup of tea/coffee and a catch up chat with friends that they have made through the group. Within question 1 (how does the group help your wellbeing) one service user responded that the group had ‘brought me back to life’ which I believe shows the extent in which the group impacts an individual’s life in such a positive way. Through obtaining feedback from the client group of the South Leeds Group it is clear from all questions answered that a high percentage of those who participated in the feedback form that gaining friends and creating friendship was their favourite thing. Furthermore, people over 80 are estimated to spend 80% of their time within their own homes creating social isolation and loneliness. Linking to social isolation and loneliness, it is said that there is strong links with mental and physical health issues and loneliness (The Independent. 2016)[4]. The South Leeds group is able to help people in this situation as it allows people to get out of the house, this having a positive impact on the individuals. Within question 1, three people said that the impact on their wellbeing was that the group helped them get out of the house.

The next meeting of this group is this Wednesday 7th June and is fortnightly.  Why not come along or for more information call Philippa on 0113 2625614
[1] Campaign to End Loneliness. 2017. Loneliness Research. [Online]. [09/05/2017]. Available from: http://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/loneliness-research/

[2] The Irish Times. 2015. Loneliness among older people increases health risks, says charity. [Online]. [09/05/2017]. Available from: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/loneliness-among-older-people-increases-health-risks-says-charity-1.2096920

[3] Age UK. N/A. Loneliness and Isolation Evidence Review. [Online]. [09/05/2017]. Available from: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/documents/en-gb/for-professionals/evidence_review_loneliness_and_isolation.pdf?dtrk=true

[4] The Independent. 2016. Age of Loneliness- How Isolation can have devastating health effects on our elderly. [Online]. [09/05/2017]. Available from: http://www.independent.ie/life/family/family-features/age-of-loneliness-how-isolation-can-have-devastating-health-effects-on-our-elderly-34475882.html