Published: 20/03/2017 12:00 - Updated: 20/03/2017 14:34

Bid to help lonely people gains big seal of appoval

Written byEmma Crichton

MSP John Finnie commended the Courier for the work it was doing.
MSP John Finnie commended the Courier for the work it was doing.

AN Inverness Courier campaign to reduce loneliness and social isolation has been praised in the Scottish Parliament.

Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie commended the work during a debate on inclusion at Holyrood.

The campaign, launched last summer in conjunction with NHS Highland, called on individuals, companies and organisations to make a pledge to carry out a task of their choosing to address the issue.

And Drakies Primary School in the city gave its wholehearted support as pupils have become ambassadors for the campaign and are striving to build links with the local community.

Once a month they host a community cafe with a crèche where youngsters serve drinks and home baking to visitors in a bid to bring together people of all generations. It also provides a valuable learning experience for pupils. This was also praised by the Green MSP during the debate on Tuesday.

"On social tourism, access to breaks that most of us take for granted has been mentioned," he said.

"I commend the work that NHS Highland is doing, along with the Inverness Courier and Drakies primary school, to encourage people to mix intergenerationally. I am sure that similar work is taking place across the country.

Mr Finnie added that he is familiar with the issue due to his work on the parliament’s equal opportunities committee during the last term.

Meanwhile, carers in Inverness are to get their own drop-in cafe where they can enjoy a chat over a cuppa while getting some much-needed respite.

The innovative project is a joint venture between the MacKenzie Centre and Connecting Carers, a support and information service for carers across the Highlands.

The day centre, in Culduthel Road, is operated by NHS Highland and provides activities for referred over 60-year-olds to enable them to continue living independently in the community. It is now to host the More About Carers (MAC’s) Cafe on a weekly basis.

It will be one of the first in the area where a drop-in for carers offers substantial support at the same location for older, cared-for people.

The development comes in the wake of research revealing alarming numbers of people feel lonely and socially isolated as a result of caring for their loved ones.

Centre manager Kathy Martin said it would provide an ideal place for those caring for a loved one to relax.

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