New club aims to ‘bridge the gap’ in loneliness services for the baby boomer generation

A NEW club that aims to tackle loneliness in the over 50s by bridging a gap in current services has launched in South Bradford.

A new Connect Club has launched in South Bradford to tackle loneliness in the over 50s
A new Connect Club has launched in South Bradford to tackle loneliness in the over 50s

The Connect Club is aimed at members of the Baby Boomer generation who might find themselves socially isolated due to changes in family situation or leaving work, but do not wish to attend a traditional day centre offering more sedate activities associated with an older age group.

It is being ran by community interest company Healthy Lifestyle Solutions, backed by funding from the People’s Health Trust.

Sharon Rushworth, a director at the company, said: “There are so many people who once enjoyed a good social life, who then suddenly find themselves alone and isolated for a whole variety of reasons. It may be that their partner has died, a couple has split up, or the children have left home. People feel cut off when they retire or, in many cases recently, because they have lost their jobs.

“There is a huge divide between the officially recognised age of 50 as an older person and someone in their late 80s – but we do not have the range of services in our communities to bridge that gap. Men and women in their 50s simply don’t see themselves as ‘older’ people and they want to have fun and enjoy pursuing their interests.”

The Yorkshire Post launched its Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic campaign in February after we revealed the heartbreaking scale of loneliness in the region. The health effects of loneliness can be as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

The club aims to help people create new support networks within the community to prevent the risk of the anxiety and depression often linked with social isolation.

A DJ plays 60s and 70s music, which Ms Rushworth said helps create a “fun, friendly, relaxed atmosphere” where people can connect.

The club meets monthly, and meet again tomorrow, Thursday September 5 at Tong Conservative Club, Bradford, from 5pm. It is open to people from the Tong, Holme Wood or Bierley areas of South Bradford.

More volunteers are needed to help assist running Connect Club. Contact Ms Rushworth on 07733828083.