Loneliness is now recognised as a major social problem in the West, affecting the health, well-being and quality of life of vulnerable people – particularly the elderly or those disadvantaged through poverty or disability.
This project addresses loneliness through learning. Attending adult education classes in the community helps to avoid feelings of isolation, giving people a reason to leave the house and encouraging them to interact with others socially.
The project starts in November 2017 and lasts for two years. It is designed to share best practice with our European partners who, like Community Action Dacorum, are already providing high quality learning opportunities for local people. By bringing together experts in the field, the project team will collect their experiences, create case studies and make recommendations for future provision. In this way, communities in Dacorum, the UK and across Europe can help more people who are at risk of feeling lonely and isolated.
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The partners are from
UK: Community Action Dacorum
Latvia: Jaunpils Novada Doma
Poland: Frederacja FOSa Poland
Portugal: Universidade Senor de Evora
Why the project is needed
Research has shown that older people are at risk of feeling socially isolated and lonely, particularly after retirement. The population is increasingly an ageing one due to increased longevity and reduced fertility; however, increasing the quality of life for older people through engaging in stimulating learning can contribute to a reduction in accessing healthcare, which is important in the wider context of the demographic challenges.
What the project will do
Each partner will share best practice from their country with the group, discuss and design new ideas, and pilot the creation of self-organised groups.
Learning can help older people to stay independent, active and contribute to society, as well as improving mental health and well-being.
Joint training events involving experts who are trainers or are involved in training, will take place in each partner country during the 24 months of the project. All events will be similar in format, with the host partner showcasing their own teaching and learning activities including the methodology, teaching styles, lesson planning and course promotion.
There will also be presentations on the use of community development and active citizenship to overcome isolation amongst local residents, coupled with the opportunity to sit in and participate in learning as well as visits to other local learning providers.
The project will publish a guide on How Learning Addresses Social Isolation and Loneliness which will contain two examples of best practice from each of the four partners. It will also create a Toolkit on the creation of self-organised groups, produced by the four partners working together. The project will create a legacy of sustainable resource materials for wide dissemination in the future, with social media playing an important part in reaching a wider audience.
For more information please contact Musarat Inayat, telephone 01442 253935.
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