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New service to relieve loneliness coming to Barking and Dagenham and Havering

PUBLISHED: 10:00 28 December 2019

Independent Age is launching a new programme to help older people tackle loneliness in Barking and Dagenham and Havering. Picture: Independent Age.

Independent Age is launching a new programme to help older people tackle loneliness in Barking and Dagenham and Havering. Picture: Independent Age.

Independent Age

A new service connecting older people with the community is coming to Barking and Dagenham and Havering.

From the charity Independent Age, the new project is starting in January for over-65s who are feeling lonely.

Called Reconnections, the goal is to provide support and advice on starting and building new relationships.

The plan is to support the service with volunteers who will work with older people to understand what matters to them, helping rebuild confidence to make new friends and rekindle interests.

Ten-pin bowling, meals out and starting bands are all possibilities in the programme, Independent Age said in a statement.

"I am delighted that we are part of the Reconnections programme. Isolation and loneliness can have a profound effect on a person's physical and mental health, but it can be difficult for people who are isolated to reconnect for a whole range of reasons," said Ceri Jacob, managing director of Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge clinical commissioning groups.

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"This important programme will help us work collectively with our local communities, the voluntary sector and other statutory partners to reduce loneliness.

"As a local system we are committed to preventing avoidable ill health or intervening early to prevent deterioration in health."

"The Reconnections programme will make a valuable contribution to that commitment."

As well as working with the CCGs, Independent Age is looking to work with health and care professionals in the areas, along with charities and community groups.

Deborah Alsina MBE is chief executive of Independent Age. She said: "We're really excited about taking Reconnections forward.

"Social disconnection can happen to anyone at any stage in life and is a growing problem across Britain. We believe one of the best way to address this challenge is through meaningful, sustained, local engagement that doesn't just provide companionship, but builds community too.

"We are pleased to be launching this new service in Barking and Dagenham and Havering. Even though there are a range of activities and services relevant to older people in these communities, many people still need the kind of practical support and confidence-boosting provided by Reconnections to help them find and participate in the activities right for them."

More information can be found at ReconnectionsLocal.org or by calling 020 7050 6565.

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