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The Scottish Government has announced the membership of a new group to advise on addressing social isolation.
In December 2018 MSPs launched the first strategy focused on social isolation and loneliness in society, backed by £1 million of funding.
A range of public, third sector organisations and experts who helped develop the strategy will now put it into action.
Minister for older people and equalities, Christina McKelvie, announced the members of the group on a visit to Dunbar Grammar School’s Cross Generation intergenerational project. This project has been running at the school for 16 years and includes monthly sessions for lunches, day trips and a film club with older members of the local community.
Ms McKelvie said: ‘As one of the first governments in the world to address the issue of social isolation in society, we want to promote positive attitudes and tackle the stigma associated with loneliness. It can affect any one, at any stage, or from any walk of life and that’s why we invited charities like Youthlink Scotland to be members of the group. The membership of the new group has valuable experience to help with this important work.
‘Projects such as Cross Generation are exactly the kind of activity which can help beat loneliness. It was great to see the interaction between the generations, both learning from each other and enjoying each other’s company. Contact between different generations can help build understanding, strengthen communities and allow the sharing of invaluable skills, experiences and perspectives.’
Alison Clyde, director of Generations Working Together, who help organise the Cross Generation group, said: ‘We were thrilled that the minister could visit an intergenerational project herself to see it in action. The projects bringing younger and older people together are beneficial for both generations. They also tackle loneliness and isolation as well as being highly beneficial for all the community.’
Full membership of the national implementation group includes:
Voluntary Health Scotland
Campaign to End Loneliness
Architecture and Place Scotland
Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
NHS Health Scotland
Generations Working Together