Published On 29 June 2018 at 10:00 AM
Sutherland Shire Council has been given a $60,000 grant by NSW Government for the implementation of a project aimed at combating loneliness and supporting people who are socially isolated.
Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce welcomed the announcement by the Hon Tanya Davies, Minister for Ageing.
“Council will soon begin rolling out a 12 month project centred around combating loneliness in our community and supporting those who are socially isolated, thanks to this State Government Family and Community Services Liveable Communities grant,” said Mayor Pesce.
According to Lifeline, 82% of Australians say loneliness is increasing and 60% of survey respondents ‘often feel lonely’.
Minister for Ageing Tanya Davies announced the successful recipients of the Liveable Communities Grants Program, an initiative of the NSW Government’s Ageing Strategy 2016-2020.
“The NSW Government is continually exploring new and unique ways to promote healthy ageing, so as residents grow older they’re supported to stay as engaged as possible with friends, family and their local community,” Minister Davies said.
The Sutherland Shire Loneliness Project will connect lonely and socially isolated older people with regular social contact.
“23% of Sutherland Shire residents are aged over 60 years and of those aged over 65 years, almost 10% are living in their home alone and a similar number need assistance with core activities due to disability,” Mayor Pesce added.
“Through the Loneliness Project, Council will work with community partners to combat loneliness and social isolation through participation in a Befriending Program, social groups and community services, events and activities.”
Community partners; BeConnected Community Services, 3Bridges Community, Gymea Community Aid and Information Services, Engadine Community Services, Carers Support Services and Kurranulla Aboriginal Corporation will also establish social groups that will meet regularly offering support for those that need to connect.
“The project will use volunteers to visit and phone lonely people to provide a regular source of company and conversation,” said Helen Ivory, General Manager BeConnected Community Services.
“The Befriending Program aims to create personal and lasting friendships and look at connecting people to community groups, events and activities.”
Sutherland Shire Council will provide linking support to connect older people to the various services, groups, events and activities that are relevant to them, to encourage an inclusive, caring and supporting community.
“Council will play a key role in getting the word out there that there is no need to continue to feel lonely,” said Mayor Pesce.
“There are so many community support services and networks available to suit everyone and we can help connect you to one close by.”
The project will create a more inclusive community, engender a sense of belonging and facilitate healthy active ageing.
“The Loneliness project will utilise community connections to reach those most at risk of social isolation and provide genuine and lasting social support and opportunities to improve physical and mental wellbeing.” added Ms Ivory.
The Loneliness Project will start in July 2018 and will contribute to achieving Council’s Community Strategic Plan outcomes to empower those who are disadvantaged and vulnerable in the community.