Community spirit is not just for Christmas!

 In News

As we look toward a new year, we anticipate that in a time of great economic, political and social change, community cohesion has never been so important.

We were moved by and loved the recent Amazon Christmas advert which gained a lot of momentum online through its powerful symbolising of the friendship between a Christian Vicar and a Muslim Imam. Ultimately, it sees both individuals do something kind to make the other’s life easier. Unknown to them they both have the same idea; knee pads to ease the pain of sore joints! The Vicar using his new gift to kneel in Church, and the Imam using his to conduct his daily prayers at Mosque. This highlights the importance of acknowledging the similarities that we share and the deep friendships that we can build regardless of differences such as gender, age, and beliefs. The advert makes us think of our needs, the needs of the elderly and emphasises we have more in common than what divides us.

We know from our partners at Age UK that more needs to be done to tackle the growing issue of social isolation: 33% of the people in England aged 65+ say they are sometimes lonely (Loneliness and Isolation Evidence Review). At ELBA we work to help the elderly community in east London through our interactive and social volunteering opportunities which can be undertaken by corporate volunteers. These can include midweek tea parties, lunches and activity sessions such as exercise, dance and cooking with organisations such as the East London Pensioners Group, Hackney Caribbean Elderly Organisation and St Patrick’s Catholic Church Wapping.

The outcomes for the community members should not be underestimated as these events provide many benefits including increased interaction with others, instilling the confidence in participants to come out of their homes; a sense of purpose that helps reduce the feeling of loneliness and increases happiness in a person’s life.

As the elderly population grows, the impact of isolation and loneliness will increase. Let’s not forget to tackle the causes of isolation that can advance physical health as well as emotional well-being. By helping the elderly find ways to socialise it is possible to spread a sense of family, community cohesion all year round, and not just at Christmas!

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