Leeds, let’s celebrate those we’ve loved and lost as part of this year’s Day of the Dead festivities

The Grief Series, a sequence of diverse art projects designed to create spaces for the open discussion of bereavement, are encouraging the people of Leeds to celebrate those we’ve loved and lost over the next few weeks.

Led by Ellie Harrison, the artist behind the project, a colourful ofrenda will be built in the city centre as a way to remember and honour those who have sadly passed away.

Meaning offering in Spanish, these beautiful displays are a long-standing and much-loved tradition in Mexico, forming a key part of their annual Day of the Dead festivities.

As a project centred on celebrating life, a key theme at the heart of The Grief Series, they want you to get involved by sending in a photo and a memory of someone you have lost.

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Posted in Art, Dying Matters, Health and Wellbeing, Information, Intergenerational | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leeds, let’s talk about how we’re feeling this World Mental Health Day!

October 10th is World Mental Health Day – a fantastic annual opportunity for individuals and organisations to come together to focus on mental wellbeing and destigmatise reaching out for help, even if it’s just talking to friends and family.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on the wellbeing of people across the city, with Healthwatch Leeds finding that nearly half the people they spoke to felt lockdown had affected their mental health.

From months spent shielding at home to feelings of anxiety and social isolation brought on by the uncertain times ahead, there’s never been a more important time to talk about our mental health!

We spoke to MindWell, our city’s mental health website, about their #LetsTalkLeeds social media campaign, running this week for World Mental Health Day.

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Get involved with this year’s International Day of Older People in Leeds

The International Day of Older People (IDOP) is celebrated annually in Leeds on October 1, typically with a series of community events across the city.

These events are organised to promote and celebrate the contribution of older people whilst raising awareness of the opportunities and challenges that people across Leeds encounter as they age.

For many older people, the isolation of lockdown and months of staying at home shielding has had a huge impact on their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. We are therefore very excited to see IDOP Leeds going ahead this year, with a number of events planned in the coming days and weeks to help celebrate the event safely.

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Posted in Age Friendly, Age Proud, Art, Awareness, community spirit, COVID-19, Health and Wellbeing, healthy lifestyle, Independence, Information, older people, Working together | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s time to shine a light on loneliness in Leeds!

If the last few months have taught us anything, it is how much we need one another. Whether on virtual calls and quizzes with friends, helping shielding neighbours or saying a socially distanced hello, little acts of kindness and quick chats have meant so much during such a difficult time.

As we move away from the lockdown, and people across Leeds begin to return to some form of community life, it is important that we remember our experiences of staying at home in recent months and keep conversations around loneliness going.

We spoke to Linda Glew, Programme Manager (Legacy) at Time to Shine, about their ‘Time to Shine a Light on Loneliness‘ campaign, which has been crafted to keep people talking about feelings of loneliness in the months and years to come.

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Posted in Age Friendly, Age Proud, Awareness, community spirit, COVID-19, Health and Wellbeing, healthy lifestyle, loneliness, Mental Health, older people, Social Isolation, Time to Shine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twenty-Minute Timeout – encouraging people in Leeds to spend socially distanced time with others

Vanessa Brown (left), project manager at InterACT, and Lisa Farrell (right), who created the concept for the campaign, promoting the Twenty-Minute Timeout

Back at the start of August, shielding was paused, meaning thousands of people across Leeds who had been advised to stay at home during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic could return to community life.

After months at home, this readjustment for many was bound to be challenging, and while support is available, what may be harder to shake are worries around being an active part of a local community following the isolation of lockdown.

We spoke to InterACT, a community group bringing people together across Meanwood and Chapel Allerton, about their Twenty-Minute Timeout campaign, devised to help residents feel more comfortable reconnecting with others.

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Posted in Age Friendly, Age Proud, Awareness, community spirit, COVID-19, Health and Wellbeing, Independence, loneliness, Mental Health, neighbours, older people, Social Isolation, Working together | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dance On – keeping older people in Leeds moving and grooving through lockdown

For many people across Leeds, finding fun and interesting ways to stay active at home has been a challenge in the past few months, one that remains important even now as lockdown measures begin to ease. For the more vulnerable in our communities, finding ways to stay active and keep fit inside their own homes has been vital to both their physical and mental wellbeing during the pandemic.

Get Set Leeds has shared some great ways for older people to stay active in recent months, including inventive ways those that are shielding have kept moving, but for us, none are as fun or freeing as dance!

We spoke to Julia from Yorkshire Dance about how they have taken their popular Dance On classes online to keep older people moving, smiling and connected during lockdown.

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Posted in Active ageing, Age Friendly, Age Proud, COVID-19, digital, Health and Wellbeing, healthy lifestyle, Information, Mental Health, Neighbourhood Networks, older people, Sport | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Developing peer support opportunities across Leeds and supporting groups to adapt to Covid-19 challenges

The Breathe Easy group staying safe during the pandemic

As defined by Mind, peer support is all about people using their own experiences to help each other. While peer support activities can differ vastly, whether in terms of what brings members together, the format of the sessions or the size of the groups, they all focus on providing a space for people to support one another.

In recent years, the formation of the Leeds Peer Support Network has helped such groups to be developed across the city, and in recent months, they have been able to support sessions to continue in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A year on from her first blog post, we caught up with Stacey Taylor, peer support coordinator for Leeds City Council, to hear more about what has been happening in the world of Leeds peer support over the last twelve months.

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Posted in 100% Digital Leeds, Age Friendly, Age Proud, Breathe Easy, COVID-19, digital, Health and Wellbeing, healthy lifestyle, Independence, Information, Mental Health, Neighbourhood Networks, NHS, older people, Peer support | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Better Conversations – supporting health and care staff digitally to work with the people of Leeds

A key part of the city’s Better Lives Strategy, supporting adult social care staff to have better conversations has been helping people in Leeds live independently for longer by identifying solutions that work for them.

With many people across Leeds having to either isolate themselves or support those isolating for their own health during the pandemic, being a city capable of having these kind, collaborative conversations has arguably never been more important.

We spoke to the Better Conversations team to hear about how they have adapted to the challenges posed by coronavirus to continue supporting health and care staff to work with the people of Leeds.

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Posted in adult social care, Age Friendly, Age Proud, Better Conversations, Better Lives, COVID-19, digital, Health and Wellbeing, healthy lifestyle, Independence, Information, NHS, older people, Public Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leeds Pathfinder – using tech in innovative ways to support people living with dementia

Dennis, a dementia carer, enjoying what his iPad has to offer

Last year, Leeds Libraries, through the 100% Digital Leeds programme, successfully bid to run a Pathfinder project as part of the NHS Widening Digital Participation programme.

The focus of the Pathfinder was on trialling new ways to use digital and connectivity to support people living with dementia, as well as their families and carers.

Sara Liles, Digital Inclusion Support Officer for 100% Digital Leeds, shares with us the story of the Leeds Dementia Pathfinder and the innovative ways it leveraged tech to support those with dementia.

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Posted in 100% Digital Leeds, adult social care, Age Friendly, Age Proud, Carers, Dementia, digital, Health and Wellbeing, Independence, NHS, older people, Social Isolation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Virtual Death Cafés – bringing people across Leeds together to talk about death and loss during lockdown

We have talked about Death Cafés before on this blog, hearing the first-hand experiences of someone who helped out at one of the sessions (and, of course, about the tea and cake on offer).

However, with the coronavirus pandemic postponing a number of upcoming Death Café events in the city, what has happened to that opportunity for the people of Leeds to come together to discuss death.

We spoke to the Leeds Bereavement Forum about taking their Death Cafés online and how running one via Zoom works ahead of next week’s event.

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Posted in Age Friendly, Age Proud, Awareness, Better Lives, COVID-19, Death Cafe, digital, Dying Matters, Health and Wellbeing, Information, Mental Health, older people | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment