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Hebrides News


A new service for those aged over 65 who feel lonely in their daily life or have difficulties keeping in touch with others is being offered to those living in Uist and Benbecula.


Developed by NHS Western Isles, the new pilot scheme is known as ConnectingUists.


It provides a confidential referral to a person called a social navigator who can assess their social needs and help with accessing support. This may often be through helping them to become involved with their own local voluntary and community groups.


Martin Malcolm, NHS Western Isles head of public health intelligence, said: “Research has long shown the social and health damage caused to individuals and communities from loneliness and social isolation and it is greatly welcome that this is increasingly being recognised among government and the NHS.



New service aims to tackle loneliness

23 February 2017

“I am very pleased therefore that we in the Western Isles are able to offer this new ConnectingUists service to begin to tackle this debilitating condition particularly among our older people who are most at risk.”


The scheme will initially be available in the Uists and Benbecula to test the new approach which includes the use of information and communications technology where helpful.


If successful it may be offered across the rest fot he Western Isles.


Dr. Maggie Watts, NHS Western Isles director of public health, said: “There are many additional benefits for older people getting involved in ConnectingUists.


“This includes improved mental health and wellbeing and increased access to social supports and networks which can reduce the feelings of isolation many people can feel. It can also help improve self-confidence and help people become more involved in their own community, often learning a new skill.”