Huge £6m lottery funding boost will help “turn the tide” against loneliness

A groundbreaking new strategy to stop thousands of older people in Leeds becoming victims of loneliness has secured a huge £6m lottery grant.

Leeds Older People’s Forum (LOPF) will receive £1m a year for the next six years to establish new services across the city that will keep older people in touch with their communities and out of the grip of social isolation and the damage loneliness can cause.

Working with Leeds City Council alongside the voluntary and business sectors, the project, entitled Out of the Shadows: Time to Shine, will also boost work already taking place in Leeds to help the city’s 246,000 older residents.

Bill Rollinson, chair of Leeds Older People’s Forum said:

“This is great news for Leeds and will offer older people in Leeds currently living in the shadows of loneliness a time to shine.

“This is why we have called our project Out of the Shadows: Time to Shine.”

The funding has come from the Big Lottery’s Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better programme, which saw 100 local authorities bid for a share of the money.

The Leeds bid was put together by the council and LOPF after consultation with 863 older people, carers and community organisations across the city.

Now the bid has been successful, LOPF will oversee work to provide a new range of activities, building on existing older people’s networks and a wide range of community services and expanding their work into further parts of the city.

More opportunities to socialise on evenings, weekends and bank holidays will be put in place, with more digital and travel activities helping older people to meet friends and get out and about.

Cultural activities for older people will be developed, volunteers will offer ‘dinner dates’ and mentors will support older people to gain confidence to walk outside the house.

Social prescribing initiatives will also work with older people referred through integrated health and social care.

Older people will be involved in drawing up any plans for new projects to make sure the services they want are the ones which are funded and developed.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, said:

“Securing this funding is a massive leap forward as we work to stop older people in Leeds becoming socially isolated and it will make an important and lasting difference in helping us turn the tide against the blight of loneliness.

“With this money, we can build on the impressive work already being done in Leeds and spread the message louder and more clearly than ever that older people don’t need to sit on the sidelines, that they can have active and fulfilling social lives and that the help and support they need is out there for them.

“Loneliness is not an inevitable consequence of old age and if everyone works together we can ensure that older people in Leeds don’t have to suffer in silence.”

Mick Ward, Leeds City Council’s head of commissioning for adult social care, added:

“The feedback on the Leeds bid particularly noted the breadth and strength of the partnerships in Leeds and the fact that loneliness is recognised as a priority in the city really helped us put a strong bid together.

“Now, thanks to the outstanding commitment of everyone involved, we have been able to secure this vital funding that will help us strike a crucial blow in the fight to end loneliness.”

Out of the Shadows: Time to Shine also forms part of Leeds’s effort to be an age-friendly city.

Council chiefs recently signed up to an ambitious pledge to make Leeds the best place in the country for older people to live, work and visit, with Leeds officially included in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Stuart Robinson

Communications Officer

Leeds City Council

Tel: 0113 224 3937

Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk