This month sees the launch of Age UK Bournemouth & Age UK Dorchester’s Connecting Dorset project. The two charities are working together to use social media as a tool to tackle isolation and loneliness across the county. They aim to connect over 1000 people via a new online community.
With 17% of older people receiving contact from friends and family less than once a week, and over 6% leaving their homes only a few times a month loneliness and isolation is a big problem that we need to tackle. With loneliness and isolation having a similar impact than other well known risk factors, such as obesity and smoking, the benefit to well-being in tackling this issue is really significant.
To tackle this the project has launched the Connecting Dorset Facebook Group (www.facebook.com/ConnectingDorset) which is set up to be a space where people are able to meet and chat with others in Dorset, providing an opportunity to many for social contact where otherwise they would have none.
Access is key and the charities are working with the Dorset, Poole, & Bournemouth libraries networks to deliver workshops across the county to provide a crash course in getting online, and using Facebook. The next two workshops are taking place in Sprinbourne (Sept 7th) and Dorchester (Sept 8th) libraries from 10am-1pm
Further workshops will be taking place at Weymouth Dorchester, Poole, Kinson, Blandford, Ferndown, Bridport, Verwood, and Gillingham Libraries. Information on dates/times can be found by contacting the library nearest you and asking about when their Connecting Dorset workshop will be taking place.
However, the workshops can only go so far in reaching out, and so the project is also looking to engage a bit of people power to help reach out further.
Sam Ling; Project Lead Said “We’re one of the first generations who don’t have to worry about extreme isolation in old age due to living in an increasingly connected world, but there are tens of thousands of people in the area who receive almost no contact from other people week to week.
With our first workshops in the next few weeks, and the group launching this month we’re really excited to be doing something to tackle this, but we’re determined to reach as far as we can into the community. We’re calling people to find that friend, neighbour, or family member who would benefit from regular social contact and help teach them how to get online, and get connected.”
To find out more about the project then get in contact with Sam Ling on firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Workshops will be taking place at ilibraries across the county, including sessions in Dorchester, Blandford, Bridport, Gillingham, Wareham, Weymouth, Poole, Christchurch, Ferndown, Verwood, Springborne, and Kinson.
– The Connecting Dorset facebook group can be located at www.facebook.com/ConnectingDorset
– Workshops are taking place at the following locations/times