Charity supporting lonely older people through coronavirus crisis

A charity has launched a matched crowdfunding appeal to support older people hit by social isolation during the coronavirus crisis.

South London Cares has already piloted online social clubs, telephone calls between younger and older neighbours and intensive outreach efforts to help older people stay connected.

As well as helping older people to connect to the local community, South London Cares will offer information services and emotional and practical support.

It has also encouraged younger people to share poems, stories, messages, drawings and games with older neighbours, and older neighbours to write back to their friends in return.

The charity encourages people to share time, laughter and friendship across the generations. It has suspended face-to-face programmes for now to help keep older neighbours safe and healthy.

A statement from South London Cares said: “We work with older people who are most at risk of both Covid-19 and social isolation, and our work over the forthcoming weeks and months is now even more important than ever.

“South London Cares will focus on maintaining the strong relationships with older people that we’ve formed over the past 18 months by staying connected to one another, even if this is from afar.

“We’re so grateful of the kindness shown by people sending in beautiful messages and pictures that we are sharing around our network, and with our older neighbours. It’s a true sign and representation of the positive and strong spirit that constantly ripples through our city.”

Donations to the crowdfunder, launched on March 18, are being doubled by a generous supporter. The charity is aiming to raise £20,000.

Recent research has revealed that, across the UK, one in 10 older people see their friends or family less than once a month, and 10 per cent of GP appointments are taken by an older person with no other condition than that they are lonely.

The Office of National Statistics recently revealed those in their 20s and 30s are among those most at risk of chronic loneliness.

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