Tackling loneliness and social isolation in later life

21 January 2016

Standing Together launch

At an extra-care housing scheme in Lewisham yesterday, Jenny Edwards CBE, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, and Bruce Moore, Chief Executive of Housing & Care 21 marked the launch of Standing Together.

To support people in later life, including people living with dementia and with backing from the Big Lottery Fund, Standing Together facilitates 25 groups of older people living in sheltered accommodation in London.

The exciting project assists weekly self-help groups for periods of six months in retirement and extra care settings, and will be facilitated across London. The groups are for tenants who are: experiencing memory loss, mental health issues, learning disabilities and experience significant loneliness. Standing Together will help participants feel less socially isolated, promote better emotional health and improve connections with their local community. Following a full evaluation, it is hoped that the project will be extended nationally. 

The CEOs were joined by participants in the projects, who will take part in a warm-up exercise and a discussion of people’s experiences of the group. 

Jenny Edwards CBE, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said:

"This important project is making an impact on the quality of people’s lives. People tell us that they haven’t felt so engaged and enlivened for years. Residents have the opportunity to talk, share experiences and reflect on how to manage life’s challenges. It’s an amazing privilege to be able to see the positive impact the groups can have on people."

Bruce Moore, Chief Executive of Housing & Care 21 said:

"With an ageing demographic, it is critical that as a society, and directly as housing and care providers, we invest more time and energy in supporting older people to lead fulfilling lives. What is innovative about this project is the central role of the participants. The support comes from within the group and is informed by their experience. To this end, we are facilitating the space to make connections that will live on within and beyond the groups themselves."