A NEW campaign with the aim of helping prevent loneliness and social isolation in local communities is being launched across the Bradford district today.

The ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign, created by the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, encourages local people to do simple things to look out for one another to help improve the wellbeing of other residents in the area.

According to research from The Health Foundation, social isolation can increase the risk of having a stroke by a third, and older people who live alone are 50 per cent more likely to visit A&E than those who live with others.

Helen Hirst, Chief Officer, NHS Bradford district and Craven clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), said: “We often think of loneliness as something that affects older people, sadly it can affect anyone at any time in their life.

"So trying to prevent loneliness and the effect on children and young people’s health is important too.

"That’s why the Partnership has come together to support this important campaign so we can try and make a bigger difference together.

"On a personal level, we can all do something to help; the smallest gestures can make a huge difference to someone who is feeling alone, even just saying ‘hello’.”

James Drury, Programme Director, Bradford Integrated Health Board, said: “We believe people are amazing and we value the difference they make for each other through everyday acts of kindness. That’s why we are supporting the ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign.”

"The ‘Looking out for our neighbours’ campaign hopes to inspire people to reach out to those who live alone or might need help, and encourage them to do simple things for them that will make a real difference to their wellbeing.

"This could be anything from picking up some shopping, to saying a simple “hello” next time they see their neighbours.

Kim Shutler-Jones, Chief Executive, The Cellar Trust and Chair of the Bradford Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) Assembly, added: “People can feel lonely or isolated for so many reasons, and of course, the links between this and our mental and physical health are clear.

"In the voluntary and community sector, we work across communities trying to tackle some of these issues – but actually – if we all work together, we can make an even bigger difference. People should never underestimate the fact that small acts of kindness can change lives.

"In our busy lives, these things can be forgotten but if we all pause and take time for these moments of compassion the world would be a better place.”

The campaign will run across West Yorkshire and Harrogate and has been created with the help of over 100 residents across the region.

As part of the campaign, 30,000 households across West Yorkshire and Harrogate will receive a hand-delivered ‘neighbour pack’ that will include a range of different resources to inspire and encourage residents to champion togetherness in their area and look out for those in need.

All resources are also available to download from the campaign website, ourneighbours.org.uk.