Celebration events tackle social isolation

Celebrations for International Older People's Day at Leeds Central Library.''Picture: Tony Johnson
Celebrations for International Older People's Day at Leeds Central Library.''Picture: Tony Johnson
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THE CONTRIBUTION that older people make to society will be celebrated tomorrow as the second national Silver Sunday takes place.

Events across Yorkshire will mark the day, which also aims to combat the social isolation and loneliness felt by so many over 65s by encouraging them to get out of the house, try new things and meet new people.

As part of our award-winning Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic campaign, The Yorkshire Post has paired with Silver Sunday to encourage our readers to host events, encourage neighbours and family to take part or even go along themselves.

Among the events taking place in the region are a tea dance will be held at the YMCA in Salendine Nook, Huddersfield and a display of mystery objects at The Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes, which will offer over 60s in a bid to encourage grandparents to visit with their grandchildren.

Pioneered by The Sir Simon Milton Foundation and Westminster City Council, Silver Sunday was first held in 2012 and was developed in response to a Royal Voluntary Service survey which revealed that more than 30 per cent of people over 75 said they were ‘very lonely’ and a quarter admitted that they did not leave their homes for days on end.

Each year Silver Sunday takes place on the Sunday closest to International Older People’s Day, which took place on Wednesday, October 1.

Yesterday Leeds Central Library hosted an afternoon of celebrations with dance, performances, poetry and singing to mark the day.

The event, arranged by Leeds City Council, Leeds Older People’s Forum and Age UK, was also the opportunity to celebrate a summer of success for older people’s services in Leeds.

Last month, Leeds Older People’s Forum won a £6m lottery grant for a six-year project to keep older people in touch with their communities and out of the grip of social isolation.

In August it was announced Leeds had been included in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities.

And in March the city’s neighbourhood networks, which support more than 21,900 older people, were highlighted as example of good practice in a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research.

Coun Adam Ogilvie, executive member for adult social care, said the event showed just how much enthusiasm, passion and talent older people in Leeds have.

“We always like to mark Older People’s Day in Leeds, but this year we have extra reason to celebrate, with some really extraordinary events and accomplishments in the city over the past 12 months.

“This has been a year when the projects and partnerships we have worked closely with have really flourished and subsequently got the recognition they so thoroughly deserve.

“Now, thanks to the work we have done together, we can all look to the future with a genuine sense of optimism as we continue to make Leeds an even better place for older people to live.”