We have something a little bit different for our first blog of the New Year. We are really pleased to share news of a successful lottery funding application for a super mental health organisation in Bradford.
Rally Round will be included as part of the fantastic activity delivered under the new scheme, which focuses on improving ‘connectivity’ for older people in the District. The Chair of Positive Minds, Marilyn Foster, has worked tirelessly for many years raising awareness about depression and other mental health concerns for older people. She heads up a consortium of like-minded groups and charities that together form Positive Minds.
The project was based on research showing that: ‘As people get older they become increasingly socially isolated and that this social isolation can damage both mental and physical health. The same research has shown that technology can prevent and alleviate social isolation by providing opportunities to communicate and stay in touch’ (Older People technology & community’, Independent Age, May 2010).
Marilyn tells us more:
‘Positive Minds’ is made up of a number of different organisations across Bradford who are interested in, or provide services to, older people who are affected by loneliness and isolation. We recognise that although there are many different activities and services on offer to people, sometimes older people are unable to access them because of disability, anxiety and lack of opportunity. This led us to seek funding to try and tackle these issues.
Lottery Funding~Project starting April 2017
We have been successful and recently received an amount of money to roll out a service over Bradford and District to teach people how to use Tablets and Smart phones. We hope this will help to reduce loneliness by enabling them to keep in touch with family and friends, and in some instances, aid them to join groups in the community because of their increased confidence. The three groups who will be rolling out the service will be Carer’s Resource, Age UK Bradford, Welcome Project Keighley and 3C.
Digital socialisation for isolated Older People
To use technology to give isolated people an insight into the opportunities available to socialise in both their local area and through the internet.
- To link those who are isolated and lacking confidence to attend activities in their local area by enabling them to use tablets and Skype so they can actually see what is happening in their community and even make contact with those already attending. Hopefully it will increase their confidence so they can attend activities in person at a later stage.
- To build up IT skills and confidence to enable them to access tablets, and the opportunities tablets and technology offer for social contact and activities e.g. emailing/ Skyping family members (esp. the younger generation) or playing scrabble (good for mental skills)
- To train peers as volunteers to offer training and technical support where appropriate.
- To work with GPs and health professionals to reach those isolated
- To set up a bank of tablets that can be loaned out for a set period to achieve the above- and subsequent help to access low cost tablets for ongoing use.