TACKLING Loneliness will be top of the agenda at a conference bringing together leading specialists to discuss ways in which social isolation in Yorkshire’s biggest city can be reduced.
The Unloneliness conference will bring together people working throughout Leeds to see how the city can become more socially connected, happy and healthy.
Leeds currently has 246,000 older residents, with 14,500 of them aged over 85. An estimated 37,000 of those can be described as lonely or socially isolated.
Conference organiser Leeds City Council has prioritised tackling the issue, and supported Leeds Older People’s Forum in their successful bid for £6m of lottery funding for projects aimed at helping lonely people last year.
The event will include looking at what the city already does to help combat loneliness, how links across generations could make us more connected and why it is vital to tackle loneliness in tough economic times.
Chair of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, Coun Lisa Mulherin, said: “We know social isolation and loneliness have a negative impact on people’s health, with those who are socially isolated being between two and five times more likely to die prematurely. We have made tackling loneliness a priority as we know the benefits this can have for people’s health and wellbeing. The conference gives people a chance to hear from people leading work on this issue in the city and across the UK, as well as the chance to inform how Leeds can do more.”
The Yorkshire Post has been campaigning to raise awareness of the issue of loneliness and the serious health effects it can have since February 2014.
Lindsay Pantry, the lead reporter of the campaign, will be one of the speakers at the event, which takes place on Friday July 17 at Leeds Civic Hall. Other speakers include the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Anyone interested in attending can email Bryony.Lawless@leeds.gov.uk