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Volunteers match up with care home loners in east London study into loneliness

PUBLISHED: 06:50 17 October 2017 | UPDATED: 08:44 17 October 2017

Loneliness in care homes uncovered in study in east London. Picure: Tower Hamlets Health & Wellbeing Board

Loneliness in care homes uncovered in study in east London. Picure: Tower Hamlets Health & Wellbeing Board

Tower Hamlerts Health & Wellbeing Board

Volunteers have been trained to delve into what makes people lonely in a study in east London by Tower Hamlets Health and Wellbeing Board.

Loneliness is increasingly recognised as a serious concern by health officials in the deprived East End with a detrimental impact on people of all ages.

Two projects have been started by the health board to explore loneliness. Volunteers were trained in community research techniques to find out the thoughts of 600 men and women who experience loneliness.

“There are many factors that contribute to loneliness,” Tower Hamlets council’s public health director Dr Somen Banerjee explained.

“The East End has high deprivation and low income in a densely-populated urban environment. Brought together it can create high levels of loneliness.

“It’s important to know more about people’s perception of loneliness and what we can do about it.”

One of the projects aims to tackle loneliness among people in care homes by matching them with a community volunteer on the basis of a shared interest or hobby. This encourages meaningful relationships to residents and the volunteers.

The health board also wants community organisations to incorporate the issue of loneliness more profoundly in future public health strategies.

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