Joseph Rowntree Foundation project

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About JRF

As a result of the JRF ‘Neighbourhood Approaches to Loneliness’ project in Denholme we set up a Film Night (which after 2 years of running had to close), a walking group, a Facebook group ‘New Living in Denholme’ and an active Patient Participation Group. The Town Council has produced a ‘Welcome Pack’ for new residents in Denholme. We also have a better newsletter and active Denholme social media. A spin off after the activities for young people is the ongoing Pilates class and a Drama group was tried out.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) selected Denholme as one of four neighbourhoods in Yorkshire to participate in a three year research programme looking at Neighbourhood approaches to loneliness from the end of 2010 to November 2013. The research explored how community activities could contribute to reducing loneliness or social isolation and how neighbourhood facilities and activity can address this issue as well as increasing the security, independence and well-being of people at risk of loneliness The project aimed to:

  • explore what people who are experiencing or at risk of loneliness think they can do to change their situation;
  • work with local communities and providers to adopt approaches and innovations that reflect this;
  • influence the willingness of others in the neighbourhood to engage and contribute; and
  • capture and share lessons in ways which are meaningful, enduring and replicable.

Using an action research and participatory learning approaches, JRF trained 14 local volunteers as community researchers in May and June 2011, who went on to speak to over 300 people in the village.

Over 1200 separate comments were collected, offering rich insights into village life,  Denholme culture and local priorities. These have included specific references to a perceived lack of community facilities and amenities in the village, in particular for young people and for older residents, lack of communication, lack of community spirit, and isolation.

The Mechanics Institute has featured prominently in responses, clearly being perceived by local people as the largest and most prominent community resource, and a key venue in the village to accommodate both services and leisure opportunities. For the most part Denholme residents tend not to look to the wider locality for community meeting venues, though they may participate in activities offered in the surrounding areas.

In November 2013 a Resource Pack for the whole project was produced and can be obtained via this link:

Click here for Resource Pack

More information at: The JRF ‘Neighbourhood Approaches to Loneliness’ project