30 July 2021

Isolation is a major problem among older residents and young parents in Newcastle’s East End.

Over the last 24 months, thanks to funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, YMCA Newcastle has been working with communities in Walker and Byker that had been identified as experiencing isolation – older residents and young parents. We wanted to discover the causes of their loneliness and how we can best support them.

Our Young at Heart Club brought together older members of our community at weekly events which included a tasty meal and entertainment such as Elvis impersonators, bingo or taking a trip down memory lane by looking at old photos of Walker and Byker.

Walker Park Baby & Toddler Group provided a space for isolated young parents to meet and socialise with others experiencing similar situations. Our Youth and Community Workers were on hand to provide information, advice and guidance to those requiring support.

We initially hosted weekly events for older people to socialise and created a toddler group to act as a vehicle to provide support to young parents. Unfortunately, the Coronavrius pandemic initially caused some disruption to the project, but it also greatly increased the need for a project such as this. We quickly adapted the project to follow social distancing guidance. Instead of weekly in-person sessions we created and distrubuted activity and support packs that were delivered to the homes of Young at Heart Club and toddler group members. Our Youth and Community Workers also created video content that was shared online to provide additional activities and support.

As the project draws to a close we have produced a Project Findings document to share our research, outcomes and what updates we’ve made to our service offering to ensure we can continue supporting isolated groups in our community, and to enable other organisations to do the same.

Click the below image to view our project findings document.