Should be there for one another
That’s when good neighbours become good friends”
“Ok the above is taken from the theme song for the long-running Australian soap, Neighbours, but it captures the essence of the ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign” says Shak Rafiq, Communications Manager, NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group
Neighbours, “and we’re encouraging people across West Yorkshire and Harrogate to reach out to someone nearby as small gestures could make a huge difference.”
Shak continued “A neighbour doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who lives next door or in your block of flats. It could be anyone in your community, quite possibly even someone you see on a regular basis but haven’t even really got round to saying ‘hello’ to…just yet. We’re on a mission to change that and the simplest way to connect is to say ‘hello my name is…’
Since we, the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, launched the campaign in March 2019 we’ve seen over 46,000 people get involved. Of those three in four have said they’ve done something new or different to help someone living close by.
As we now enter the winter months, your neighbourly actions could help those who become even more isolated during the dark, cold days and nights.
We can’t possibly do this on our own as a partnership and that’s why we’re grateful for all our supporters. This includes the Jo Cox Foundation, the Campaign to End Loneliness, Hello my name is… and Heart FM.
Yet the real power lies in our communities and the community and voluntary groups who work tirelessly to get people connected, to tackle social isolation and, to coin a phrase from Age UK, no one should have no one.
This campaign seeks to harness the work they do and show people that we all can do as little or much as we like to help people living nearby.
Simple things make a huge difference. From a friendly wave and a hello, through to picking up something from the shops when the weather is bad, to gritting paths and drives, to inviting people who live alone to celebrate the festive season together.
“Young or old, loneliness doesn’t discriminate. It is something many of us could easily help with.” said the late Jo Cox MP.
Last year half a million older people across the UK said they expected to feel lonely at Christmas time with 230,000 older people who spend at least one day alone over the Christmas period saying that they have no choice (Age UK, December 2018).
We’re not the only ones looking to tackle this issue and we’ve seen some heart-warming stories that show how people are looking out for others. From the man who finally won’t be spending Christmas alone after 20 years, through to ‘happy to chat’ benches in Wales through to Somerset and Avon Police’s idea to get people to use their spare Christmas cards.
Locally we’ve seen a living advert calendar set up by some neighbours in Leeds and Square Chapel Arts in Halifax offering subsidised cinema and theatre tickets so that people can bring someone who may be socially isolated to a screening.
These are just some of the heartwarming stories we’ve seen but we know there’s loads that people are doing in our area and we’d like to highlight what you’ve been doing. Tell us how you’ve been offering someone a helping hand or maybe someone has been there for you – get in touch so that we can share your positive experiences.
To end the piece we’ll go back to our friends down under…
Everybody needs good neighbours
Just a friendly wave each morning
Helps to make a better day”
Thanks Shak lot’s of inspiration there for New Year’s Resolutions take a look at the website and see how you can get involved.