The objective is to reduce loneliness and social isolation and increase neighbourliness through a community-based approach by looking at partnerships and community engagement.
In the past few years social isolation has become a significant problem in our society. We know that a lack of social connections can be as injurious to health as moderate smoking or obesity. According to research at Cornell University, both mind and body benefit from involvement in the community. The university discovered that spending time with others decreased the risk of heart disease and led to lower levels of anxiety and depression and higher self-esteem. A n initiative in Frome in Somerset showed a reduction in hospital admissions when the problems of social isolation were tackled. Instinctively we know that many aspects of life are more manageable or more fun when shared.
Headington Action, in conjunction with the two surgeries in the area, is working to emphasise the importance of social connections and to raise awareness of organisations that are available to help people to connect. There are many voluntary groups and organisations within Headington and across our city which provide services and support to help people connect to others and to provide physical and social activities to improve wellbeing. We are working with community, health and church groups across Headington to promote such services and to encourage the formation of new services where there are gaps. We are also encouraging the value of simple acts of friendship such as saying hello to strangers on a park bench, in cafes or on buses. Neighbourliness is key, with street parties or a community lunch an excellent way to start things off or build on existing contacts.
Outcomes to-date have included:
*If you would like to find out if your street or neighbourhood has a Street Contact, or residents’ committee or are interested in setting one up, please contact Headington Action's 'Street Contact Coordinator' via firstname.lastname@example.org.