• ‘Better Together’ is a project run by Public Health Wales, in partnership with wellbeing charity Action for Elders and Bay Health GP Cluster Network.
  • It aims to improve the health of older people in Swansea by tackling social isolation and loneliness, and strengthening local communities.
  • Part of our programme to take action on the social determinants of health, this project will focus on the role of social connections and community in shaping our health and wellbeing.
  • Will work with communities to co-design and deliver a small-scale test and learn project to evaluate the impact of weekly community-based group meetings on the health of participants.

Better Together is a partnership project which will test initiatives to tackle social isolation and loneliness, and strengthen local communities. It will evaluate the impact these initiatives have on the health and wellbeing of older people.

Social isolation and loneliness are significant public health issues in Wales, with around 25% of older people reporting being lonely. Evidence links social isolation and loneliness with poorer health. Older people with weak social ties have a 50% greater risk of mortality.

This project will involve working with older people within two communities of Swansea Bay – an area that has a higher than average older population and pockets of deprivation. 

The project will start by talking with older people living in the two communities to understand their needs, and working with them to design an approach to tackling isolation and loneliness together.

Action for Elders will run weekly groups, each led by a ‘social host’ who will deliver activities based on older people’s needs, supported by volunteers. These activities may include group discussions, socialising over a meal, music, crafts, community walks and visits.

GPs and other primary health practitioners will be able to refer those people in need of group support to Better Together. 

The project is expected to improve the social, mental and physical wellbeing of group participants, for example through reduced loneliness, and a stronger sense of community. 

A mixed-method evaluation will assess the impact of the project on individual health and community wellbeing. 

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