Column: More needs to be done to tackle growing problem of loneliness

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We’re hearing more and more in the news about the negative effects of loneliness.

According to research it’s deadlier than obesity, increasing our risk of premature death by up to 26 per cent. It particularly affects older people, with one in 10 of people aged 65 or over saying they always, or often, feel lonely.

We’ve been thinking quite a lot in the Made in Corby office about how arts activities can help combat the negative effects of loneliness.

Local people who have attended our events have told us that one of the best things about arts activities are “meeting new people” and “how it brings the community together and learning different experiences”.

Some 81 per cent of people surveyed at this summer’s Grow Festival thought the event made them feel part of a strong community. However, since 17.3 per cent of the population of Corby Borough are over 65 years old, we are particularly concerned with what loneliness might be doing to our elders.

So, this autumn, we’re launching our new Connect strand, which offers free and accessible arts activity in residential care settings and sheltered housing.

Over the next six months, we’ll be hosting a series of taster sessions, giving older people the opportunity to socialise while trying out creative activities such as dance, writing, music, ceramics and craft. We’re also working with The Core at Corby Cube and Hat Fair, and an arts festival in Winchester, to create a Recycled Silent Movie! Created by groups of older people from both Corby and Winchester, the film will use archive footage of both towns and be screened alongside a live musical score performed by young musicians at The Core at Corby Cube in December.

After the taster sessions on our Connect strand, we’re planning an even bigger project to develop and showcase the creative talent of older people in Corby.

Please see www.madeincorby.co.uk to find out more. And for those of you who aren’t on the internet, you can find us in Corby Library from 10am to 1pm on the first Thursday of each month to chat to us about our plans.

By Helen Wilmott