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.