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UCLan joins forces with Age UK to tackle loneliness during coronavirus pandemic

Posted on - 4th May, 2020 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Health, Preston News, UCLan
Senior woman with caregiver
UCLan and Age UK will be working together to help older people combat loneliness and isolation during the Coronavirus pandemic

The University of Central Lancashire has teamed up with Age UK to help elderly and vulnerable residents in the region cope with loneliness and isolation during the coronavirus crisis.

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Students and staff in the Creative Innovation Zone at UCLan are working with the charity to create online tools to help those in need to keep in touch with loved ones and support and care staff.

The Government has urged people over the age of 70 to remain at home for up to 12 weeks during the pandemic and to avoid physical contact with relatives and friends during that period.

Emma Speed, UCLan’s Creative Innovation Zone Director, said: “In this current unprecedented time of quarantine, social distancing and remote working, all of us are going to feel the effects of isolation and loneliness, but none more than elderly and vulnerable people living on their own.

“Loneliness can be a huge issue for older people during normal conditions, particularly if they live alone. With the present restrictions on movement, the chances of loneliness, isolation and depression affecting them is that much greater.

“We are very pleased that we now have a chance to tackle the problem head on, just when help is most needed.”

Read more: Age Concern’s Coronavirus helpline is there to support older people in need

The collaborative project will see students from Journalism and Sociology at UCLan working together with PhD students at the university to develop the new digital platforms.

Emma said: “This partnership with Age UK is a fantastic example of how bringing together students from different courses and disciplines provides new ways of thinking about very real social problems like isolation and loneliness. These issues are a continuous challenge for an organisation like Age UK and the people who rely on their support, especially now.

“The Creative Innovation Zone team and iLab are delighted to be able to offer our students this unique opportunity to work with a high-profile charity at the forefront of coronavirus community support.”

Read more: UCLan fashion designers producing isolation gowns

Lee Speed, Operations Manager at Age UK Stockport, said: “Using this time to work remotely with the Creative Innovation Zone and i-Lab at UCLan to find new ways to help those who are isolated will help us forward plan and is very timely. 

“We can learn a lot from the current situation. Helping those whose mental health may begin to decline through loneliness is vital, and this unique initiative will help us put in place new ways of engaging with services, as well as socially. “

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What do you think of the initiative? Do you know somebody who would benefit from this sort of help? Let us know in the comments.

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