Nearly 700,000 people in Yorkshire and the Humber live alone and many are suffering mental health problems as a result, says a report released today.
The report by Community Led Homes – produced in partnership with Leeds Community Homes and Community First Yorkshire – also reveals that more than one third of people in the region say that they feel lonely due to their living situation.
The report, Home Aloners: The True Cost of Living Alone in Britain Today, reveals the findings of a survey commissioned by Community Led Homes and carried out by Savanta ComRes into how the loneliness epidemic is affected by people’s living situation.
It shows that nearly a quarter of people who live alone in Yorkshire and the Humber say it is not good for their mental health.
The Yorkshire Post has been campaigning for loneliness to be universally recognised as a health priority and to encourage readers to volunteer for support services.
In the report a woman named as Jane, 61, from On the Brink Cohousing in Sheffield, said: “Before, my routine would be to go and sit in the pub on a Friday night to say that’s the end of the working week, but it was also the start of me not having another adult to talk to except in shops and things until I went back to work the next week.
“Now on Fridays, I take a dish into a room and there are people with news, kids running around, a dog – it’s just like having an extended family.”
Read more: Loneliness campaign achieves new breakthrough as attention turns to carers – The Yorkshire Post says
Steve Hoey, from Leeds Community Homes, said: “In all of the many approaches to community led housing that we have seen in Yorkshire, there are always many added benefits in addition to people being housed.
“Getting involved in a community group, and sometimes in the renovation or building of their own homes, gives people a sense of ownership and pride, as well as invaluable connections and friendships with other group members and the wider community members.”
Community First Yorkshire, which works with voluntary and community organisations, social enterprises and rural communities, is working on a North Yorkshire Loneliness Strategy.
Chief executive Leah Swain said: “Our research has shown that one of the trigger points for loneliness is living alone. Having a strong connection to your community can provide a vital link for people and community led housing has an important role to play.
“If you build the right homes that local people are invested in, both financially and emotionally, you are taking significant steps to building stronger communities and challenging loneliness.”
Separately the Community Led Homes partnership, which aims to create a better way of living for themselves and others, is launching a campaign to support communities to make supportive, affordable, secure homes.