Local charity is looking for volunteers to support the most vulnerable

Age UK Sunderland (AUKS) are supporting those affected by loneliness and isolation during the pandemic

Friday, 11th June 2021, 11:48 am
Female home carer supporting old woman to stand up from the sofa at care home

The local charity has created the Loneliness and Isolation Task Force (LITF) project which aims to reduce loneliness and isolation in people aged 50 plus.

Due to the significant challenge of the increasing prevalence of loneliness and isolation as a consequence to Covid-19 restrictions, the LITF project provides support to older people experiencing these issues including those with mild to moderate dementia across the City of Sunderland

Loneliness is something that can affect any one of us at any point in our lives, but this issue has become more prominent during the Coronavirus pandemic, making Loneliness Awareness week, taking place 14th to the 18th June 21, more important than ever.

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Heat map to illustrate risk of loneliness in the over 65s across Sunderland – Age UK (2018)

Loneliness has been linked to early deaths and an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, depression, cognitive decline and poor sleep. AUKS explained it was ‘as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.’

Loneliness in addition to the impact of Covid 19 has had a devastating effect on many older people in Sunderland. The rates of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety have increased significantly.

For the older people, not being able to see family, friends and loved ones during this time has left many of them at risk of feeling lonely and isolated.

The LITF is developing a task force of volunteers who are dynamic and passionate about improving older people’s quality of life.

Elderly volunteer supporting Age UK Sunderland.

They will support people aged 50+ experiencing high levels of loneliness and isolation to help build confidence to access local amenities safely. This includes local transport, shops, parks, community clubs and physical activities to enable social interaction and connections.

By improving the health and wellbeing of older people the LITF hope to combat the negative effects of loneliness and isolation.

The LITF team will be out in the local communities to spread the word and recruit volunteers during Loneliness Awareness Week at these locations:

Monday 14th June, Wednesday 16 th June and Friday18th June at Sunderland Glass Centre - 10.30am – 2.30pm.

Tracy Collins, Director AUKS

Tuesday 15th June and Thursday 17th June at Herrington Country Park - 10.30am – 2.30pm.

You can also register to be a part of the LITF volunteer team by contacting AUKS’s Volunteer Co-ordinator on 0191 514 1131or emailing [email protected].

One of the users for the service told us how important it was to them “This is an invaluable service, I was very appreciative of the food parcel and have been overwhelmed by the support from AUKS.”

Tracy Collins, Director of AUKS explained “The LITF project is an essential part of the recovery from Covid 19, Loneliness and isolation are life threatening issues which debilitate older people’s health and wellbeing in all areas of their lives, however the impact of Covid-19 has amplified this issue significantly.

AUKS is dedicated to rebuilding the confidence of older people as government restrictions ease to enable a safe return to community life. Mental health issues in older people have escalated significantly as a direct result of the pandemic, the LITF project will

help to improve overall health and wellbeing by ensuring inclusivity.”