I receive many letters and emails and often speak to residents in Staffordshire Moorlands who suffer from social isolation and loneliness. This was one of the reasons that prompted me to host the very successful Senior Tea Dances last year and also led to the event ‘Beyond the Front Door’, a Conference on Loneliness and Isolation Awareness that I hosted here in Staffordshire Moorlands last week.
17th – 21st June is Loneliness Awareness week and the aim of this Conference was to bring together interested professionals, organisations and charities from every community in Staffordshire Moorlands to hear what the issues are, what is already happening in Staffordshire Moorlands and what could work well here in the future.
The idea was prompted by Government initiatives on tackling loneliness and isolation, taking forward the proposals made by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness and it was lovely to be able to start the Conference with a video message from Mims Davies MP, the Minister for Loneliness.
I invited representatives from churches and faith groups, GP surgeries, Parish Councils and Village Hall Committees as well as key people such as Council leads for Public Health, the Community Nursing team, the Mental Health team, Councillors, local doctors and health professionals, representatives from the Police and Fire Services as well as many voluntary organisations and charities.
I would like to thank everyone who took part in the Conference – to the speakers, the many professionals and volunteers who attended and the charities and organisations who do such great work on the issue.
It was so interesting and useful to hear from the many different people and organisations present. ‘Beyond the Front Door’ is just the beginning and I believe there is a great deal that we can all do now to follow up on this event.
My third Senior Tea Dance of the year was the Christmas Senior Tea Dance. It was such fun to see so many local residents enjoying the fabulous Biddulph Ukulele Band playing a selection of Christmas songs, the dancing, friendly conversation, tea and cakes.
A huge thank you to Alton Towers for sponsoring the event, Moorlands House for providing the room and of course the Biddulph Ukulele Band for giving their services for free. Thank you to Sporting Communities, our partner charity for this event and everyone who worked so hard to make it such a lovely afternoon.
My second Senior Tea Dance, this time in Biddulph, was a really successful event that was enjoyed by all. Many thanks to everyone who came along, to our partner charity the Royal Voluntary Service, the Biddulph Ukulele Group, Asda and Royal Mail who kindly sponsored the event and everyone who worked so hard to make it such a great occasion.
As many of you know, I am committed to helping to reduce elderly loneliness and isolation in Staffordshire Moorlands. I therefore really welcomed the Government’s recent announcement of a £20 million investment to help tackle loneliness, building on Jo Cox MP’s legacy and helping charities fight social isolation.
Feeling lonely or isolated can have such an impact on people’s lives and this fund will support charities and community groups that bring people together. The fund has been created as a partnership between the Government and the Big Lottery Fund who have equally pledged £5 million – and the Co-op Foundation who have allocated £1 million to tackle loneliness among young people.
I am proud to work with many great charities and community groups here in Staffordshire Moorlands and my Senior Tea Dances are just an example of this.
I was delighted to host my first ever Senior Tea Dance in February which I have to say was a very successful event that was enjoyed by everyone.
I wanted to do something for elderly people in the constituency to help combat loneliness and elderly isolation. This is such an important issue and I was delighted that so many people booked a place and came along to enjoy the tea, cakes, singing and dancing. The event would not have been possible without sponsorship from Asda, Boots and Wright’s Pies and also the many local businesses who donated raffle prizes.
Thank you to the Biddulph Youth and Community Zone and the Royal Voluntary Service for working with us to make the event happen, to Moorlands House and to all the hardworking volunteers. The raffle raised over £160 and all proceeds went to the Biddulph Youth and Community Zone.
To conclude, I have to say that the highlight of the Tea Dance had to be the fantastic Biddulph Ukulele Group who not only gave their services for free and provided such wonderful live music, but also took the time to dress up in 1940s and 50s costumes. I am very grateful to them and know that everyone who came along, whether dancing or singing or just sitting listening to the music, really enjoyed their performance.