Be Someone For Someone, founded a year ago to tackle loneliness in Australia, has been awarded one of the top honours at the 2020 Future of Ageing Awards.
Be Someone For Someone, an initiative of aged care and disability services provider Feros Care, snared the Social Inclusion prize at the prestigious awards ceremony, which recognises innovation and leadership across Australia’s aged care industry.
Now in its second year, the Future of Ageing Awards is designed to share evidence of success and applaud aged care providers, suppliers and educators at the forefront of helping ageing Australians.
In a highly detailed awards submission, Feros Care, founder of Be Someone For Someone, highlighted our commitment to increasing social inclusion and addressing loneliness by raising awareness of the issue, fully researching the loneliness landscape and providing tools and resources for people to make connections.
This included ‘1000 Notes of Friendship’, a COVID-19 specific awareness campaign designed to keep seniors connected through letter writing by volunteers and that proved so successful – surpassing its target of 1000 notes – it’s now a permanent fixture in our ongoing Kindness Warrior Program.
In the nine months after we launched in November 2019, Be Someone For Someone established a Research Advisory Committee of leading social and health researchers who studied more than 250 research papers and meta analyses on loneliness and isolation; developing a Be Someone For Someone framework on loneliness to help the organisation and others, to focus and prioritise high impact programs to support those who are suffering the most.
Head of Be Someone For Someone Jo Winwood said the team was delighted to have received national recognition for their work.
“Loneliness is considered by many to be the greatest social issue of our time and there is a huge need for our work. It is gratifying to know that the Future of Ageing Awards judges recognise our work and 21st century programs to help those suffering loneliness to feel like they belong and have value.
“In a year where millions of Australians have lost vital social connections due to COVID-19 restrictions, it is more important than ever that we are doing all we can to provide practical ways to tackle loneliness and prevent the serious mental and physical impacts it is known to cause.
“The team at Be Someone For Someone is incredibly passionate about tackling loneliness head on and we look forward to rolling out more innovative campaigns in coming months, including one that we believe will make a hugely positive impact on people at risk of social isolation this festive season.”
Feros Care was also recognised for using technology to increase social inclusion and reduce loneliness for seniors.
This includes highly innovative programs including the Virtual Social Centre, where people form friendships through a vibrant interactive virtual community, and Let’s Get Technical, a personalised digital coaching program that helps them use technology to meet new people and stay connected.
Feros Care CEO Jennene Buckley said the awards success was humbling for the charity’s founding organisation.
“Feros Care always had high expectations for the impact Be Someone For Someone could have but none of us could have predicted the charity would receive such recognition less than a year after launching,” she said.
“Our team is working tirelessly to tackle the loneliness that impacts so many Australians and given the complexity and breadth of the issue, that need is increasingly crucial.”
Awards judge and CEO of LeadingAge and Executive Director of The Global Ageing Network Katie Smith Sloan said shining a light on exemplary programs and initiatives was critical in making the world a better place to grow old.
“Whether it is addressing the unique needs of those living with dementia, facilitating the efficient delivery of community-based services or forming strong community connections, we can learn a great deal from these awards winners,” she said.