In 2013, while developing the Ageing Better application to the Big Lottery Fund, we held Bristol’s first summit on loneliness that looked at best practice from outside of Bristol and set a challenge to the city to test and learn new initiatives to help people get the level of social contact that they want.
On May 5th, BAB is proud to be hosting Bristol’s second Loneliness Summit in partnership with Age UK Bristol to raise awareness of the impact of loneliness on people and communities. The summit will showcase achievements of some of the BAB partners to date in tackling social isolation amongst older people but will also allow space to encourage ideas sharing and to heighten our awareness of the impact of loneliness across all age groups and different communities with opportunities to hear about some of the work already underway.
One of the strengths of Bristol Ageing Better has been the wholehearted support we have received from our partners across all sectors. We are pleased that BAB is invited to be part of a range of activities for older people across Bristol and our forthcoming Age Friendly Charter will take this further, encouraging everyone in Bristol to think about how they can make their community better for older people.
Through all of this work, we must not forget that the overarching aim of Bristol Ageing Better is to tackle isolation and loneliness for older people. It is easy to connect this topic to any number of activities but we must always return to this main challenge.
Loneliness is a very popular word at the moment, helped in no small part by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness. Jo Cox was committed to tackling this issue, aiming to 'turbo charge the public's awareness of the silent epidemic of loneliness and start a high profile public conversation'. Her campaigning on this issue has formed the basis of the commission’s work which aims to expose the growing crisis of loneliness and to act as ‘call to action’, encouraging people to start a conversation and look at what action local and national Government can take to combat loneliness.
We are currently in the Commission’s spotlight month for Older People, led by Age UK nationally in partnership with seven organisations – Alzheimer’s Society, British Red Cross, The Big Lunch - Eden project, Gransnet, Silverline, Independent Age, C2EL, RVS.
We started our conversation in Bristol at the first BAB summit but there is still work to be done and working together on these issues are more important than ever.
We are honoured that we are able to make this day happen and I would like to use it to inform our ongoing work but also take the first steps in starting a citywide conversation to raise awareness and engage organisations, communities and individuals in actively reducing loneliness in Bristol. We look forward to seeing you at the summit.
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