Over-65s face isolation risk

OLDER people in four of South Holland’s towns and villages are among those at the highest risk of being isolated.

Holbeach, Weston, Moulton and Long Sutton are among eight wards across Lincolnshire identified by a taskforce as facing “community isolation”.

The findings are part of the research being carried out by the Excellent Ageing project, which has been collecting data and talking to older people and other key people to identify the issues facing over-65s and what can be done to improve their lives.

One of its key priorities is ensuring older people are able to maintain relationships with others.

Holbeach, Weston, Moulton and Long Sutton have been identified as areas with limited or no access to key services, such as banks, doctors and post offices.

Lack of public transport has also been taken into account, as have the limited opportunities for social interaction, such as coffee mornings, luncheon clubs, support groups and other activities which help to combat loneliness and isolation.

The findings will be considered by a steering group in November when decisions and recommendations about the next steps to tackling the problems will be made.

But councillors in Weston and Moulton claim the problems are exaggerated, as there are a range of facilities available to older residents.

South Holland district councillor and chairman of Moulton Parish Council Andrew Woolf said: “I don’t think older people in Moulton are particularly isolated as there seem to be a lot of amenities, such as a post office, doctors’ surgery, fish and chip shop and pub, as well as bus routes coming through the village and a number of active clubs where they can get together and socialise.

“On the other hand, if they want to come in and look at improving things further, that can only be a good thing.”

Fellow district councillor and Weston Parish Council chairman Coun Anthony Casson said people living in outlying areas of the ward could consider themselves isolated, but said he didn’t believe Weston lacked facilities.

He said: “There are some community groups that have died a death but I can’t see the over-65s in Weston are isolated.”