A NEW project aimed at combating isolation and loneliness amongst the elderly has been launched in York.

The “I See You” project will work with residents at the city's Fulford Nursing Home in a bid to support those who are lonely, to reduce isolation and mental deterioration.

The team at Dandelion Arts - a York based arts organisation - will lead 15 creative sessions, which will focus on the exchange of music, stories, poetry, jokes, recipes and wisdom, to be used as material in the creation of a ‘Variety Performance’.

The performance, which will be captured in a short film, will also feature young people and will be shared amongst friends, family, other care homes and the local community in Fulford.

A £3,000 grant from Fulford and Heslington Ward Committee alongside a contribution from Fulford Nursing Home has been secured to create the project led by Dandelion Arts, whose mission is to work with and empower vulnerable or isolated groups.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat councillor for Fulford and Heslington, said: “Even though the last few months have been challenging for us all, this crisis has been particularly difficult for people living in residential and nursing homes, who have had to cope with months of separation from the people they love.

"Thanks to the amazing and selfless work of the nursing home staff the residents have been kept active and supported through this difficult period. However, for the elderly and vulnerable loneliness and isolation can have a significant impact on their wellbeing.

“This is why I am proud to be supporting this unique community-based project, which not only looks to combat isolation and loneliness among the elderly but also provides opportunities for local young people to contribute and thrive in our local community."

Elizabeth Hannock, manager of Fulford Nursing Home, added: “The last few months have been difficult for our residents, but I am extremely proud of the incredible dedication of our staff as well as the resilience and spirit, which our residents have displayed throughout this trying time.

“We know that arts can have a profound impact on the wellbeing of vulnerable people, so I am delighted to see this unique project start to take shape. The memories and wisdom of our residents are a precious part of our local community and its history. I am excited for these stories to be shared so that we can all discover and appreciate the rich lives and wisdom of our residents.”

Katie Matthews, creative director of Dandelion Arts, said: “At a time when the most vulnerable in our society have been made to isolate for their safety, it is crucial to try our best to reach out to those who might be lonely, low in mood or just missing their usual social activity with friends and family. This project will look to ensure that the residents of Fulford’s Nursing Home feel like the cherished and valuable members of community that they are.

“We have our first team of Dandelion Arts Youth Collective ready to start work over the summer and, despite the restrictions, we are already finding creative ways to begin this amazing project. I am looking forward to seeing what we discover along the way and I am sure we will all come out of it with wonderful stories of our own to tell.”