A project intended to ensure elderly residents in Leeds, England, do not succumb to loneliness has been awarded £6 million in funding from the UK National Lottery's Big Lottery Fund.
Leeds Older People’s Forum (LOPF) will receive the money in six annual payments of £1 million.
Estimates indicate there could be around 37,000 people living in Leeds who are socially isolated and lonely. The lottery funds, which were awarded thorough the Big Lottery Fund's Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better programme, will be used to set up a range of services designed to ensure people are not left home alone and suffering in silence.
LOPF chairman Bill Rollinson said: "This is great news for Leeds. We will offer older people in Leeds, currently living in the shadows of loneliness, a time to shine. This is why we have called our project 'Out of the Shadows: Time to Shine'."
The new community services will provide older people with more opportunities to get out and socialize on evenings, at the weekend, and on bank holidays. There will also be a project to provide mentoring for older people who find it especially difficult to gather enough confidence to leave their homes.
Councilor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, said: "Loneliness is not an inevitable consequence of old age and if everyone works together we can ensure that older people in Leeds don’t have to suffer in silence."