We have, collectively, worked so hard to reduce loneliness and social isolation among older people in Leeds and it is heart-breaking to be now sharing the message for all of us to stay at home and lockdown for an indefinite period. It’s the very opposite or our natural position! But stay at home we must until we combat this virus and can resume our activities.
We don’t know what the world will look like at that point, but we can assume it will have changed. We will have lost people we care about, lost organisations and businesses that made lives better, and we may find many unexpected changes too.
On 1 April 2020 we enter year 6 of our 6 year National Lottery funded programme. We have had a real twinkle in our eyes in recent weeks, as we planned to host a festival that showcases all the fabulous work that happens in Leeds, to prepare for a conference to share the rich learning that has come from the test and learn ethos that has developed, and to share many of the amazing stories that people of Leeds can tell about becoming less lonely. As you can tell the Time to Shine team has been gearing up for our final year for some time. But much of this is now in question.
Focusing on the legacy and learning of Time to Shine has paused. Paused… but not stopped!
We, along with the whole community of Leeds, are working hard to coordinate a response to the crisis, which has meant putting the brakes on our plans. We need now to prepare for the social impact that this forced isolation is going to have on our community and the repercussions from this unprecedented situation.
When we emerge from isolation and come back into the light we will return to a final year plan for our legacy. We are full of hope that the festival will happen and the conference will go ahead – we will all be ready for some joy!
The hard work, dedication and creativity of staff and volunteers at our brilliant delivery partners has helped us learn many valuable lessons about how to reduce loneliness and social isolation. We know that many new lessons will be learned as we all pull together to work through current times. We will capture those new lessons as part of our legacy. We will share information about what really works, to inform any future work. We are confident that we will still do this, despite the shift of focus for the moment.
We want to ensure that we leave a positive legacy of solid roots for others to continue this work in our stead.
Time to Shine Programme Manager (Legacy)