The ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign, commissioned by West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership launched on the 15th of March with the aim of helping to prevent loneliness and improve the wellbeing of residents in the area.
Campaign activity has included the distribution of ‘helpful neighbour packs’ across the Wakefield district that includes a range of different resources to help residents take simple, positive action to look out for a neighbour in need.
Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week, people across West Yorkshire and Harrogate have shared their stories of how the movement has inspired them and those around them to make a positive difference in their local community.
Karl Jordan is participant, turned facilitator, for Andy’s Man Club in Wakefield. Karl started attending Andy’s Man Club in July 2018 and has shared how the campaign helps support people that attend local clubs with a range of mental health and wellbeing issues: “Andy’s Man Club is a sanctuary for men to talk openly about anything that they may be struggling with. Since the Club started in 2017 its growth has been exceptional throughout the UK, and it currently helps on average 376 men per week.
“The Club helps men to offload about the weight of modern-day life from those who may be struggling with depression, alcoholism, substance abuse, anxiety, suicide and even loneliness. At Andy’s Man Club they understand that loneliness can be a precursor to other health and wellbeing issues; predominately mental health challenges.
“The simplest of actions can prevent or help to reduce the risk of suicide, self-harm or mental health deterioration. For example, asking for your neighbours mobile number and texting them to check up on them can make a big difference.”
The campaign has also received support from over 350 supporters including high-profile organisations such as Jo Cox Loneliness Foundation and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
Kim Leadbeater, sister of the late Jo Cox MP and Ambassador for The Jo Cox Foundation. Kim said: "Looking out for the newly bereaved and others whose loneliness may trigger health problems is something we can all do. I feel passionately about creating well-connected communities where everyone is happy and healthy and has a sense of identity and belonging. It’s wonderful to know that some of the connections being made through the ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign can be continued as part of The Great Get Together, which takes place on the weekend of Jo’s birthday in June. I believe if we all work together to prevent loneliness and its associated health risks, we can have a positive impact on the wellbeing of everyone – during Mental Health Awareness Week and beyond.”
Another key supporter, Rob Webster, CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and CEO for South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “It’s wonderful to hear about the positive difference the campaign is making across the area. For many years, the Mental Health Foundation has built evidence showing the link between loneliness and mental health problems. Many people feel lonely at some point in their lives, whether this is due to bereavement, divorce or other life changing events and without the support of family and friendships it can be very difficult to overcome. I’m very proud my Trust and the Partnership is working together with our communities to highlight the causes and effects of loneliness and social isolation and importantly trying to do something to help.”
Since the launch of the campaign, all supporters have been promoting its message throughout their organisation and within their community. The campaign has also received attention on social media, with the hashtag #OurNeighbours being used over 1,000 times. In addition to the 30,000 helpful neighbour packs distributed, a further 600 people have downloaded a digital version of the pack from the campaign website.
To download your own helpful neighbour pack or find out more about the ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign, visit: ourneighbours.org.uk
‘Looking out for our neighbours’ is a social marketing campaign commissioned by West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership. The campaign aims to prevent loneliness and its associated health issues by encouraging communities to look after each other. The campaign aims to inspire communities to engage in simple wellbeing activities that will positively impact on their neighbours. Find out more at: ourneighbours.org.uk
About West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership
West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership focuses on the health and care needs of local people across Bradford District and Craven; Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield. The partnership is made up of a number of organisations who work together to help 2.6 million people in the area including the NHS, councils, Healthwatch, voluntary and community organisations. Find out more at: wyhpartnership.co.uk
In August 2018, the Partnership allocated £1m to go toward supporting voluntary and community organisations to help tackle loneliness. Find out more at: wyhpartnership.co.uk/our-priorities/preventing-ill-health/loneliness
Deanna, Spectrum People, Wakefield: “Looking out for our neighbours campaign supports this project as we encourage parents that attend to make connections with the elderly and vulnerable at both locations. Many parents ask after regular resident attendees and have even planned and put on Easter parties for all to attend.”
Robyn, Service Delivery Officer at Stonewater Housing – Halifax: “The ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign is making a difference to our residents here because it’s really got that conversation going. We’ve got residents who are really looking out for each other, doing things and really engaging with the pack and doing little things for each other during the week, whether that’s going shopping with each other or taking the recycling down for one another. Some of our more elderly, vulnerable residents are definitely benefitting from that.”
“The campaign packs are being used by the residents, just as a little kick starter of what they might be doing for each other. So we’ve got residents who are using the weekly planners and seeing that they’re going shopping, they can shop with another resident or for another resident. They also take the recycling down for others who wouldn’t be able to do it themselves. It’s really nice that it’s being utilised and being taken on board.”
Chris, secretary at Memory Lane Café – Halifax: “Looking out for our neighbours’ is a great idea. What I think is really good about the campaign is the way it shows people that you don’t need to do big things to make big changes. It’s the small things, it’s talking to people and enquiring if they’re alright, offering to do a little bit of shopping. It’s that kind of thing, and that’s the kind of ethos we offer at Memory Lane Café.”
Salman, neighbour, Batley, Kirklees: “I always make time to help others. I live in Batley where I live next door to two elderly neighbours. I always do what I can to help them and make sure they don’t feel isolated or lonely. Some of the ways I actively do this is by going to their house regularly and making sure they are okay and doing their shopping or just going to have a chat with them. I also enjoy making a hot meal for them as I know they appreciate the small things. I have realised that it’s the “small things, that make a big difference” as even having a chat with someone or making them smile can make someone’s day. ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ is all about humanity, compassion and showing how we can all contribute towards that.”
Laura, Collaborative Care Team, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust: "The 'Looking out for our neighbours campaign is making a difference because it is highlighting the important part neighbours play in people's wellbeing, especially the elderly who often live alone and have medical conditions. For our team of community nurses in Airedale, it particularly helps to highlight the voluntary services that support our patients with simple everyday things like taking them shopping, moving furniture or even just having a conversation with a cuppa."
Emma, neighbour, Bradford: “When my neighbours first moved in next door I was busy (as many of us are) and didn’t spend a lot of time at home. Then it felt awkward to break the ice… luckily we did say that first hello and now it’s just the norm. It really makes a difference to how I feel at home and is a true enhancement to my life.”
Sandra, Nidderdale Plus Community Centre, Harrogate: “I like the ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ calling cards as they have encouraged residents to use them and leave their number for support. The campaign has also encouraged one of our service users to arrange a tea party which has brought the community together.”
Stuart, Neighbour, Leeds: “I’m looking out for my neighbours. I'm always keeping an eye and calling in on elderly people near where I live.”