An innovative new campaign launches in Worcester this week, to encourage local residents to spend more time talking to friends, family members, neighbours and people in the wider community.
The Talk to Me Worcester initiative aims to bridge generational and cultural divides in a bid to tackle the growing problem of isolation. According to central Government's most recent Community Survey (2016-17), one in 20 adults nationally reports feeling lonely "often or always." And according to the charity Reconnections, 35,000 older people across Worcestershire are likely to suffer from loneliness.
Worcester-based individuals, community groups, schools and businesses are therefore being encouraged to organise positive activities which will help people to meet, build meaningful relationships and have some fun.
"The concept behind this campaign is really simple, and strongly reflects my Love Not Hate theme for this mayoral year. We are encouraging local people to create some opportunities to bring people together to talk and have some fun," explains Cllr Jabba Riaz, the Mayor of Worcester.
"It could be a really small action like inviting a neighbour or two round for a coffee – or maybe organising a lunch or games afternoon for people in your neighbourhood. By taking a little more time for conversation with others, we can build stronger and more resilient communities in Worcester."
The idea for the campaign was inspired by a similar initiative in London (www.talktomelondon.org). Book and toy swap sessions, open days for neighbours and street cinema are just a few examples of the type of activities which could help bring people together.
All entrants who sign up for the campaign via the Talk to Me Worcester Facebook page will have the chance to win one of two grocery vouchers worth £50, with judges awarding the prizes for the best ideas and/or events set up in the city between 10 January and 15 March 2019.
The Mayor will also present plaques to organisers of the most innovative and inclusive events at an award ceremony on 21 March 2019.
The Talk to Me Worcester campaign has been developed by several partners including Worcester City Council, Worcester Community Trust, Fortis Living, Reconnections and Father Hudson's Care.
For more information, go to www.facebook.com/talktomeworcester