Added on: 5th August, 2019 by O1
Loneliness is more harmful to your health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It’s certainly a statistic that grabs the attention.
It’s arguably one of the country’s biggest societal issues and clearly a massive public health issue; one study concludes lonely people have a 64% increased chance of developing clinical dementia. Over nine million people in the UK report to be always or often lonely. With loneliness affecting older people disproportionately it is of particular concern to Bromley - being the London borough with the highest proportion of older people - but anyone, at any age, gender or background is potentially at risk.
Bromley councillors have made it their mission to try to tackle loneliness, together with the help of voluntary, public and private sector groups. To that end, LBB held a summit during national loneliness awareness week, Friday 21st June, to bring together different groups from charities, businesses, friends and faith groups to discuss what more can be done to offer help to some of our most vulnerable residents. The summit focused particularly on intergenerational projects, working to bring different demographics of people together to foster connections and befriending.
In his opening remarks, Bromley Council Leader, Councillor Colin Smith told those assembled that loneliness can affect anyone at any stage of their life. “I am absolutely determined that we should take loneliness more seriously as a society and together with partner organisations, try to ensure that no one feels alone or isolated from our community.”
Over 120 delegates attended the summit, filing the room with enthusiastic and passionate people, dedicated to doing what they can to support those in our community suffering from loneliness.
Councillor Aisha Cuthbert, Executive Assistant to the Leader of the Council, who organised the summit, said, “I am delighted to have helped to kick start the debate about loneliness in our borough. It’s strange how even in busy urban areas people are still lonely in this day and age, and we know it affects not only older people, but care leavers and young mums too. We want to work with the community to make things better and we have got off to a fine start. I’m confident from the conversations, networking and overall enthusiasm I witnessed we have created invaluable links so that new community projects and initiatives can be set up and delivered.”
If you have ideas or thoughts on the borough’s tackling loneliness agenda, please contact Cllr. Aisha Cuthbert via email: Aisha.firstname.lastname@example.org