At Time to Shine, managed by Leeds Older People’s Forum (LOPF), we have been working to reduce the impact of loneliness and social isolation among older people since 2015. Covid-19 has added huge challenges to the programme, greatly increasing the risk of loneliness, particularly amongst older people.
Loneliness has a huge negative impact on people of all ages, affecting mental health and emotional wellbeing. The first lockdown, and social distancing rules, prevented us and our local delivery partners, from carrying out much of the work planned for our intended final year, 2020/21, as everyone adapted to support people through the immediate crisis. After receiving the news that we were to move back into a national lockdown, concerns about loneliness have grown again – this time with added considerations about the winter months and dark nights.
We are very pleased to announce that the Time to Shine programme has been granted a one year extension by the National Lottery Community Fund, as recognition of the work already done by our delivery partners across the city and by the other National Lottery funded Ageing Better programmes across England.
Bill Rollinson, Chair of LOPF, said:
“We’re delighted. This extension of our programme is testament to the remarkable creativity and hard work of all the organisations we’ve worked with through Time to Shine. It’s come at just the right time, allowing us to continue to support vital work responding to and recovering from Covid-19, throughout 2021.”
Our delivery partners have been hugely creative and flexible in adapting their activities to reach the most vulnerable older people.
Rachel Cooper, Chief Executive of LOPF said:
“Covid has forced older people into greater isolation and the loneliness this brings is having a huge effect on their mental health. Sadly we only expect this to worsen as we head into the winter months. An additional year of Time to Shine will enable us to reduce loneliness, and put into practice and share all that we have learned over the past six years.”
Our plan for the year 7 extension will allow Time to Shine to apply the huge amount of learning gathered during the Covid-19 response, including promoting access to digital activity, rebuilding strength and confidence following lockdown and developing intergenerational activity. In the additional year we will be working with partners to reach carers, older members of LGBT+ community, the South Asian community and African Caribbean community. We will be focusing on improving confidence, mental health and wellbeing as part of Covid recovery.
Work planned for the additional year of Time to Shine includes:
- building on our Age and Dementia Friendly work, with partners in Leeds City Council, to make Leeds the best city to grow old in
- continuing to support front-line voluntary sector staff with learning sessions and toolkits
- continuing to develop anti-discrimination work through the Age Proud Leeds campaign
- hosting a Festival of Ageing and a Time to Shine Conference, to showcase and share the learning from delivery partners
We are confident that this one year extension for Time to Shine will allow us to continue to support work with a range of innovative projects throughout Leeds. We look forward to working with you.
Time to Shine Programme Manager (Legacy)