Blackpool Victoria Hospital opens ‘Community lounge’ to try and beat loneliness

A new “community lounge” will be opened at Blackpool Victoria Hospital to try totackle loneliness.

The group meeting will be held monthly in the Whinney Hey Road hospital’s restaurant, with the first from 2pm to 4pm on Friday, February 1.

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Visitors will be offered free tea and coffee, and cake, while guests are lined up to offer “help, advice, and topics on interest”, a hospital spokesman said.

Andrew Heath, from the Patient Experience team, said: “While human connection cannot take the place of clinical interventions, it is as important to an individual and their wellbeing.

“The community lounge will go some way to supporting this and connecting people.”

The event will be a casual affair, allowing guests to talk and make new friends.

The group will also be able to suggest what guests and services they are interested in and mould the way the group evolves.

The first guests will be staff from Blackpool Carers.

Hundreds of thousands of elderly people are lonely and cut off from society in England, especially those over the age of 75.

According to Age UK, more than two million over-75s in England live alone, and more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. It said loneliness can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director, said: “There is no doubt in our minds, however, that preventing loneliness deserves to be a priority for both central and local Government, and for the NHS too: that’s because it not only makes life miserable for people, it can also make them a lot more vulnerable to illness and disease.”