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Loneliness and social isolation: Let’s make ‘A Better Medway – Together’

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A new campaign is underway in Medway to help people suffering from loneliness and social isolation and you too can help.

Medway Council’s campaign ‘A Better Medway - Together’ aims to not only reduce loneliness but also help people better connect with their local community.

It is estimated that around 12,000 people in Medway feel lonely. Loneliness and social isolation are harmful and can impact on a person’s wellbeing.

Loneliness can affect people of any age and can stem from a number of different reasons including moving to a new area, family or friends not living close by or life changes such as retiring or having a baby.

Members of the community - including individuals, groups and businesses - can support the campaign by making a small or large pledge by visiting this website.

A pledge could be a simple hello to an elderly neighbour, hosting a coffee morning or volunteering at a community event.

Once a pledge has been submitted on Medway Council’s official website, then a downloadable pack of fun resources will be emailed with ideas and inspiration about how to connect more with the community.

Do you want to contribute towards improving health and wellbeing in Medway? Then become A Better Medway Champion.
Do you want to contribute towards improving health and wellbeing in Medway? Then become A Better Medway Champion.

Medway Council arranges activities throughout the year to give residents opportunities to meet new people and Cllr David Brake, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adults’ Services, says loneliness can be tackled if the community bands together.

“Loneliness and social isolation are not just issues which affect older residents,” he said.

“Anyone, of any age, can become lonely.

“There are lots of opportunities to connect with others in Medway and we are working with partners to help our residents make more connections in their local area.

“Together we will tackle loneliness and make ‘A Better Medway’.”

Make a #MedwayTogether pledge to reach out to someone in your community today. Pledges can be big or small and made by individuals, groups or businesses.
Make a #MedwayTogether pledge to reach out to someone in your community today. Pledges can be big or small and made by individuals, groups or businesses.

There are plenty of ways to make connections in Medway and those interested can discover more with a search of ‘A Better Medway’ on Facebook and Twitter.

Representatives of A Better Medway Together will also be setting up stands in September to reach out to the public at Broomhill Park on Saturday, September 14 and Saturday, September 21 at Hoo Recreation Ground.

Medway Adult Education runs a community engagement programme called ‘Create Medway’ which aims to encourage family learning and provide opportunities for social interaction.

Classes include family wellbeing and yoga and weekly painting sessions at the Sunlight Centre in Gillingham. For more information click here.

Men in Sheds is just one of the many projects available in Medway where people can make new connections.

Teenagers and young adults are also feeling lonely. The Office for National Statistics has reported that 11% of 10 to 15-year-olds say they often feel lonely.
Teenagers and young adults are also feeling lonely. The Office for National Statistics has reported that 11% of 10 to 15-year-olds say they often feel lonely.

This project help local men get together with others to share their interests and skills, including sessions such as woodcraft, music sessions and art.

Medway Men in Sheds focuses mainly, but not exclusively, on men over 25 who are not in work and retirees and organises four sessions each week which focus on different interests and skills.

Those interested in learning more can call 01634 338600.

Michelle Thomas works as an Estate Manager for Sheltered Accommodation and helps tackle social isolation and loneliness as part of her role.

Improve health and wellbeing in Medway when you become A Better Medway Champion.
Improve health and wellbeing in Medway when you become A Better Medway Champion.

“I try to tackle loneliness for new clients,” added Michelle.

“Most recently, we had a lady who didn’t know anyone when she moved in. I introduced her to one of her neighbours.

“Now, she’s started her own knitting group, goes to art classes and also attends a retirement group in Lordswood.”

Over 9 million people, almost a fifth of the population, say they often or always feel lonely according to the Campaign to End Loneliness.
Over 9 million people, almost a fifth of the population, say they often or always feel lonely according to the Campaign to End Loneliness.

If you would like to join the ‘A Better Medway – Together’ campaign or would like to learn more about some of the initiatives, then click here.

You too can make a #MedwayTogether pledge and reach out to someone in your community today.

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