A NEW project has been launched to help support socially isolated people living in the St John’s and riverside areas of Worcester.

Onside Advocacy, a charity helping isolated adults throughout Worcestershire, has teamed up with Worcester City Council to launch the Living Well project.

The scheme will target those aged 50 and older in the two areas who have little or no contact with the community or local services.

There are about 31,000 people aged 50 and older in Worcester – 31 per cent of the city’s entire population – and about 15,000 of these are of retirement age.

Some health experts have said loneliness can be more damaging to health than smoking or obesity and can lead to problems such as poor mental health, increased blood pressure and dementia.

Onside’s chief executive Kate Harvey said it was hoped the project would be completed within a year.

“This vital project will work as a three part process,” she said.

“Our dedicated team will identify, contact and assess the people who they think will benefit from the project.

“We are also calling upon local people in the St John’s and Riverside areas to help us identify isolated people who could benefit from our support.

“We are also offering training to new volunteers who wish to help provide local people with information about local social, fitness, arts and community groups, supporting and encouraging individuals to take part.

“The project’s aim is to reduce the risks to health caused by isolation, ultimately helping this group to live well and enjoy older age.”

To find out more or volunteer with Onside call 07917 066 329 or visit the charity’s open day at St John’s Sport Centre in Malvern Road, Worcester from 2pm until 4pm on Wednesday, July 2.