MHA, one of the largest charities in Britain, providing services to older people for more than 70 years, has launched a new awareness campaign: ‘Good Deed-cember’. The campaign highlights isolation and loneliness amongst older people, and shows that by connecting them with local communities this growing crisis can be alleviated.
Members of one of MHA’s Live At Home schemes (community based schemes which help combat isolation and loneliness) in Leeds helped launch Good Deed-cember at their regular meeting in Horsforth’s Central Methodist Church.
They were joined by John Middleton and Charlotte Bellamy.
Loneliness and isolation has reached epidemic levels across the country. It affects over a million older people across all demographics and all parts of the country. Although a year round problem, Christmas is a particularly difficult time of year for those who have lost, or live far away from, loved ones.
Good Deed-cember is showcasing this by calling on the public to remember older neighbours, friends and relatives by delivering a good deed this December and sharing it on social channels, using the hashtag #GoodDeedcember. Good deeds could be anything from addressing Christmas card envelopes, helping out with shopping, wrapping presents, baking a cake, or inviting someone for Christmas lunch.
In addition, people are also being encouraged to donate to MHA who will, in effect, deliver a good deed on their behalf (both at Christmas and for the whole year round). The money raised will provide much needed funds for MHA’s Live At Home schemes, which provide companionship and community to thousands of people across the UK.
A donation of just £5 could fund an at home festive visit from a MHA volunteer. £10 could ensure an older person goes on a Christmas shopping trip. £25 would help support a community Christmas lunch. Donations can be given via www.gooddeedcember.org.uk, by calling 0800 085 6962 or by texting DEED16 to 70070 (for a £5 donation).
MHA runs 52 community-based Live At Home schemes across the country, all of which provide company and support for older people through a number of initiatives delivered by local volunteers. Initiatives include group lunches, befriending schemes, days out, keep fit classes and much more. Each scheme provides slightly different services shaped by their members, but all have the shared goal of eliminating isolation and loneliness amongst older people.
“We are thrilled to be launching our Good Deed-cember campaign this year,” comments Jonathan Mace, Head of Live at Home at MHA. “Loneliness and isolation is a growing problem in the UK, and one that will only get worse as we continue to live longer. At MHA we want to tackle these issues by providing schemes and projects which enable older people living alone to be actively involved in their communities.”
“Good Deed-cember takes on isolation and loneliness on two fronts. We are raising funds for our Live At Home schemes which provide a lifeline for so many people. But Good Deed-cember is also a call to the public to remember elderly people in their lives – whether family members, neighbours, or friends – and to make this Christmas a time when they do something to make their festive season a little easier. And we want people to shout their good deeds out loud by joining in the #GoodDeedcember hashtag, sharing photos and paying it forward to that as many people as possible can join in.”