2019 is Sefton’s Year of Friendship!

Sefton Council is delighted to celebrate the official launch of Sefton’s Year of Friendship 2019.

A recent launch event was held at Waterloo Community Centre highlighted the positive impact friendships have on peoples’ lives. Over recent years there has been an increase in loneliness within certain groups across Sefton, which has a detrimental impact on health and well-being.

According to national research, the effect of loneliness and isolation can be as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is more damaging than obesity. It is closely associated with depression, suicide risk, impact on quality of life and can result in more visits to GPs and admissions to hospital.

The Year of Friendship will showcase the many different forms of friendships, and help to signpost people to groups and activities to help them build new networks – helping those who could benefit from friendship the most.

Throughout the year, work will be aimed at reaching out to those people who need it most and will be themed around many key areas, including diversity, older people, specialist groups and younger people to open conversations about loneliness, how people are affected and where to get help.

Having 2019 dedicated to the Year of Friendship will build on the Council’s Core Purpose of facilitating confident and resilient communities to help achieve the ambitions of its Vision 2030, contributing to the themes ‘A Borough for Everyone’ and ‘Together we are Stronger’.

There will also be an opportunity for community groups to get involved in a project to create friendship bracelets that will be used at the end of the year to create a lasting representation of Friendship. Any groups interested in getting involved can email communications@sefton.gov.uk to request materials and further information.

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulation and Compliance and sponsor for the Year of Friendship, said: “Friendships touch people’s lives in so many positive ways, providing comfort and support, fostering community development, and improving health and wellbeing.

“I am delighted to be the sponsor for 2019 Sefton’s Year of Friendship. We now have the opportunity to work alongside groups and organisations across the borough to highlight and celebrate the wonderful work that’s helping to bring people together. It’s something we are really looking forward to celebrate by bringing our inclusive communities even closer together.”

The Year of Friendship follows on from the success of the Year of the Volunteer 2018 that culminated in a huge increase of the numbers of volunteers in Sefton who delivered 118,689 hours of service in 2018.

To find out more about the Year of Friendship and how you can get involved visit www.sefton.gov.uk/friendship