The Leeds Older People’s Forum was established in March 1994 and has grown to a citywide membership of over 100 voluntary sector organisations working with older people across Leeds, including the Neighbourhood Network Schemes.All member organisations provide services dedicated to older people though they are not necessarily an older people’s organisation.
The Forum supports organisations throughout Leeds that provide services for older people. In the face of extremely stiff competition, it has secured funding from the Big Lottery of £1M per year for 6 years, starting July 2015. This will be used to help tackle the loneliness and isolation experienced by many older people in Leeds.
There are 246,000 older people in Leeds, and 14,500 of these are aged over 85. Numbers are growing every year and it is estimated that about 15% of older people are lonely and socially isolated. This amounts to 37,000 people in Leeds. The funding from Big Lottery will allow us to establish a wide range of services and projects to tackle this serious and growing problem.
Loneliness blights both individual lives and our communities through unhappiness and ill-health. This puts carers and relatives under enormous pressure and so we will aim to reach at least 15,000 older people and help them to move out of the shadows cast by loneliness. Older people need not experience loneliness as an inevitable consequence of ageing.
Working with a wide range of partner organisations including Leeds City Council, Voluntary and Business Sectors the project will:
- promote Leeds as an age friendly city,
- develop inter-generational links,
- improve connections with older people from street level upwards,
- provide support and friendships at home,
- increase number of volunteers in local communities.
This project will build on the excellent work already being done across Leeds and focus on the more vulnerable, hard to reach people.
Most importantly of all – older people will be at the heart of managing and designing all of this work.
“This is great news for Leeds. We will offer older people in Leeds currently living in the shadows of loneliness a time to shine. This is why we have called our project “Out of the Shadows: Time to Shine”.