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New campaign to tackle loneliness in East Staffordshire

By UttoxeterPostandTimes.3522974.UttoxeterPostandTimes  |  Posted: February 04, 2014

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GROUPS and businesses are being encouraged to sign up to a new campaign aimed at tackling loneliness and isolation among older people in East Staffordshire.

The ‘Up for a Chat?’ campaign will see volunteers sporting badges to show they are more than happy to spend a few minutes talking with or helping out older members of the community.

‘Up for a Chat?’ is being piloted in East Staffordshire and already more than 60 companies have signed up to take part in the eight-week scheme.

Robbie Marshall, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “In Staffordshire, we have seen a 25 per cent increase in the number of people who are pensioner age or older in the last 10 years and we know that developing friendships, staying active and really being part of a community really contributes to people’s overall health and wellbeing.

“As people become a little older there are perhaps less opportunities for them socially and really this campaign is about not only helping residents develop more friendships and trusted contacts in the community, but is also about encouraging us all to question whether we are making the most of everything older members of our community really have to offer us.

“We all lead busy lives, and in a time when many of us may not even know our neighbours, this an opportunity to think less about ourselves and more about how a simple act of kindness and consideration can make all the difference and encourage us all to be part of a friendlier, happier community.”

Volunteers will need to register and abide by a code of conduct. They must also be willing to agree to security checks, if asked.

People who would like to volunteer are being asked to register and wear a campaign badge whenever they are willing to be stopped for a chat.

Those wanting to get involved in the scheme can register at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/upforachat or call 03001 118000.

The scheme will run until Sunday, March 23.

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