NEIGHBOURS in Skipton are being encouraged to look out for each other in a joint initiative to combat loneliness.

Yorkshire Housing staff at the hub on Newmarket Street have joined forces with Craven District Council to promote the Looking Out for Our Neighbours project - a campaign aimed at encouraging people to do more to be good neighbours where they live.

The scheme, which covers Craven, as well as Harrogate and West Yorkshire, is being run by the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership.

It comes after Yorkshire Housing’s team in Skipton helped develop initiatives to help those suffering from social isolation, which can lead to health problems, including stroke.

Tenants on the Greatwood and Horseclose estates were involved in setting the campaign’s themes with their ideas including the award-winning Scoff Café and Sunday social and women’s groups, which meet at the Greatwood Community Centre.

Community centre manager Karen McIntyre, who is also Yorkshire Housing’s community development adviser, believes isolation and loneliness has risen on the estates due to the reduction or removal of services.

She added: “We don’t have any shops or pubs on the estate anymore, so we have to find new ways to bring people together and look out for each other.”

Looking Out for Our Neighbours works in tandem with a separate Stronger Communities project which supports areas where public sector and other services might have stopped.

Michael Hewson, Yorkshire Housing’s services manager in Craven, said: “As support services are no longer available as they once were, this important campaign is a helpful reminder that it’s often the smallest acts of kindness that make the biggest difference to a person’s life.

“Local organisations, like Yorkshire Housing, can help bring people together in shared endeavours and I am proud of our involvement in doing just that.”

Paul Shevlin, chief executive of Craven District Council, said he fully supported the initiative.

“District councils play a vital role in enhancing the health and wellbeing of our residents, and at a time when we are very aware of the impact of loneliness and isolation on physical and mental health it is important to raise awareness of the simple things we can all do to help people feel connected within their community,” he said.

Other simple actions to reduce loneliness can include: Taking letters to the post box for someone;helping someone fill in a form or use a computer;offering a lift to a GP or hospital appointment; taking someone for a trip to a cafe or local community event; and organising a regular get-together.