In 2019, as part of Harnessing the Power of Communities project across Bradford District, Peter Stone Consulting produced an in-depth research report for The VCS Alliance.
This highlighted the work that Befriending organisations are carrying out across the district to support older people.
The report is available to download via these links:
Loneliness and social isolation has hit the headlines over recent years and we know that it affects people’s health in a negative way. Offering befriending services is one way to address loneliness and social isolation.
In Bradford there are a number of organisations that offer befriending and there has been growing public attention to loneliness in our communities and this has been accompanied by a shift in our understanding of its impact – and in particular its implications for mental and physical health. We now know that, for example:
- The effect of loneliness and isolation can be as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is more damaging than obesity.
- Loneliness puts individuals at greater risk of developing dementia.
- People who are lonely are less likely to be physically active.
Providing a listening ear, visiting regularly and making someone feel valued through befriending is one way to improve the lives of people who feel lonely and can help with some of the barriers that cause social isolation, for example, disability, frailty and lack of confidence.
“Peter is a good friend and he never lets me down. He still comes every Saturday and it’s nice because if i am up to it, he takes me out for a pub lunch. It does me good.”
We now know that, the effect of loneliness and isolation can be as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is more damaging than obesity.
Not only does the befriendee benefit but it is also really great for volunteers as well.