The support available for residents in Mid Sussex is being highlighted by district and county councillor Anne Jones.
She said she was ‘shocked’ to read our report on March 7, which revealed that half a million older people in the UK say they go five or six days without seeing or speaking to anyone.
In response to our article – which we ran as part of our campaign on Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic – Mrs Jones said she wanted to reassure residents in Mid Sussex.
Mrs Jones, whose priorities as a councillor are children and families, said: “There is a huge number of organisations that provide support.
“Many of our churches have lunch clubs and groups. Some times there is a lot going on but not everyone knows about it.”
Mrs Jones is chairman of Neighbourly Care Mid Sussex – which helps the elderly and individuals who are in need of a ‘good neighbour’.
Don’t sit at home and be lonely and isolated because the longer you sit there alone, the harder it is to get up and go out.Councillor Anne Jones
She set up the charity organisation in 2008. It works across Burgess Hill, Hassocks, Hurstpierpoint and the surrounding areas, offering support that a ‘good neighbour’ might offer – such as shopping, transport to a doctors or dentist appointment and minor household and DIY jobs. It also targets loneliness.
Mrs Jones said she ‘just needed someone to talk to’ when her husband died.
She is also on the Mid Sussex Older People’s Council (MSOPC) – an independent local charity, run by older people, for the benefit of Mid Sussex older people.
The charity ensures that the interests of older people across Mid Sussex are well-served.
“Don’t sit at home and be lonely and isolated because the longer you sit there alone, the harder it is to get up and go out,” she said.
Residents who want to know what organisations are available can pop into their parish or town council as a first step, or nearby library.
Alternatively, they can visit the Mid Sussex Wellbeing website.
Mrs Jones said it was not just older people who suffer with loneliness.
“Young people suffer too,” she said, adding: “We need older people in our community, they help younger people, and vice versa. My dream is to bring them together.
“Men, who have been working their whole lives and have retired, can feel isolated too.
“We need to help people before they retire. No-one needs to be isolated and lonely – everyone is needed.”