Nine thousand newspapers to tackle social isolation among the elderly

Nine thousand neighbourhood toolkits will be delivered to Burngreave homes to help tackle social isolation among the elderly.

A launch event today in Burngreave Ashram community centre celebrated the creation of a broadsheet newspaper style guide to help those in need. It’s part of a £6m Big Lottery Fund investment, the Age Better in Sheffield project.

Hannah Hunt, Communications and Toolkit Coordinator, said: “It’s about showcasing what Burngreave is like as a place to live. I spent a few months interviewing people in order to put the toolkit together.

“We decided a newspaper would be the best option. It’s designed to help those who feel isolated, but also shows little things that somebody could do to engage with neighbours in need. Small gestures can make a big difference.”

The toolkit is written in four languages to be as wide reaching and inclusive as possible of the community.

Different assignments are included in order to encourage people to engage within the area.

The creation of the toolkit followed an event in March, ‘Let’s Talk Burngreave’, where residents were invited to talk about social isolation openly in a day of activities.

Brook Leigh, a member of staff, said: “It’s going really well, we’re into the second year now. It’s really important to raise the profile and get people involved.”

She added that the organisers are planning to continue the project in three other target wards in Sheffield.

The toolkit will be tailored to the local areas and may not necessarily take the form of a broadsheet paper.

If the project is successful, the organisers hope to expand it to the whole Sheffield region.

Bobby Futter

Second year journalism student and student communications assistant for SSiD at the University of Sheffield.

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