‘In Good Company’ launches new quality mark

06 July 2017

A new quality mark has been launched this week for  local businesses, community groups and parish councils who can demonstrate  a strong commitment to combating loneliness in the county.

 The new mark is part of the ‘In Good Company’ campaign being run by over 20 organisations from the statutory and voluntary sector to help combat the increasing problem of loneliness in Norfolk.  The health impact of being lonely can equate to smoking 30 cigarettes a day, so the risks can be substantial and with Public Health Norfolk estimating there are over 38,000 Norfolk residents aged 65+ suffering from loneliness, the campaign was vital to ensure no-one in Norfolk spends a lonely day if they don’t want to.

 Bill Borrett, the Chair of Adult Social Services at Norfolk County Council said “The response to our In Good Company campaign has been great, but it is just one step in us acknowledging the impact that loneliness has on our services.  Reducing social isolation in Norfolk’s communities is vital to improving people’s independence. I know that many businesses and communities out there are already doing a huge amount to support this campaign and I’m really pleased that this quality mark will be a way of recognising all of the work they are doing for their local communities.”  

The campaign initially sought to promote organisations and activities already working to combat loneliness in the run up to and immediately after Christmas – encouraging donations, support and volunteering. The campaign hashtag, #NoLonelyDay, reached almost a million Twitter accounts in the first six weeks as the Norfolk community rallied around the campaign.  

With dozens of people and organisations having already signed up to support the initiative, the ‘In Good Company’ quality mark is being launched to recognise and reward communities and organisations which actively work to combat loneliness in Norfolk.  

Local businesses and communities are key in tackling this issue, as they may be the only social contact isolated people have, and we want them to be able to shout about the work that they do and continue to create an awareness of the issue.  

Louise Smith, Director of Public Health said; “This campaign is really important for public health services. We know that loneliness is associated with a heightened risk of mortality, depression, sleep problems, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and stroke. So anything we can do to stop people feeling socially isolated will have a positive impact on the number of people diagnosed with these problems and reduce the need for health care intervention.

Successful recipients of the kite mark will have demonstrated a willingness to engage with those who may be feeling isolated, as well as actively publicising and promoting anti-loneliness events and encouraging staff to get involved too. There is also a special ‘plus’ mark, to acknowledge extra activity above and beyond the usual commitment.  

Applications will be made via an online form at www.norfolk.gov.uk/ingoodcompany where full details can be found along with a list of of those who have already received the award.

For political comment
Cllr Bill Borrett (Conservative) Chair of the Adult Social Care Committee, on 01362 860200
Cllr Mike Sands (Labour), on 07557 634894
Cllr Brian Watkins (Liberal Democrat) on 01603 259306

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