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Ignite Imaginations is supporting activities across the city that help bring older, isolated people together, helping to decrease loneliness in people aged 50 and over.


With funding from Age Better in Sheffield, the charity is supporting older people to create connections through three projects; Start Up, Sporting Memories and We Are Makers.


Loneliness has become such a problem in our society that Teresa May created a new minister for loneliness last week to tackle the issue.


“The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness revealed in a 2017 report that 9 million people in the UK feel lonely often or always, and that about 200,000 older people in particular have not had a conversation with a friend or family member for over a month.


“Other research has revealed that loneliness is as bad for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.


“So, it’s important that funding is available to combat this growing problem.  We’ve really appreciated being a delivery partner for the Age Better in Sheffield programme over the last 3 years.  The funding has made a vital impact in the lives of older people in our city.”

- Luisa Golob, CEO if Ignite Imaginations.


Start Up is a project that supports older people to start activities, events or groups in their local community. Over the last 3 years it has supported over 35 people and reached a further 350 people through the activities delivered.


The project helped Catherine start a drop-in café in the building where she cleans. Over a dozen people come each week, many of whom are alone or isolated and are glad of the space it gives them to chat and meet others.


Through the process Catherine herself has gained confidence to help others start other new activities such as a knitting group.  “I really enjoyed doing this and meeting new people in Burngreave. I like to help people and offer advice.”


Each beneficiary of the project gets one to one support from Ignite Imaginations and up to £200 towards the costs of their activities.


Following a bereavement Sheila wanted to get involved in her local community, helping people who are isolated and people with dementia.  With support she was able to run a Christmas party, using the funding to pay for entertainers to give the event a wider appeal. 


She has gained confidence and made lots of new friends, “It’s has been brilliant, I’ve really enjoyed putting this on for everyone.”


Ignite have also been supporting Sporting Memories groups in sheltered housing schemes and libraries such as Parson Cross. The groups bring men over 50 together to talk about sport, or other shared interests.  Groups have created scrap books, run quizzes and been on trips, including trying archery, crown green bowling and going greyhound racing. 


“We’ve had a great time, lots of chatter and merriment and also space to share stories and concerns”
- Andy, leading the Parson Cross group.


Two new groups started this January, both of which are looking for members. One on Thursdays at Woodhouse Library, 3 Skelton Ln, S13 7LY from 10-11.30am and another at the Sheffield Transport Sports Club, Greenhill Main Road, S8 7RH on alternate Mondays, 1-3pm, from January 22nd.


The ‘We Are Makers’ initiative celebrates the older people of Burngreave and Firth Park who help build community. The initiative started with a 3-month pilot last summer and was successful in receiving further funding from Age Better in Sheffield to grow the project over 2018.

“We want to work alongside local people to celebrate what already goes on and to help fill any gaps; by putting on events, clubs, workshops; anything that supports bringing people together.”

- Charlie Barnes, Ignite Imaginations Project Worker


Anyone aged 50 and over living in the Burngreave or Firth Park area can get involved by contacting Ignite Imaginations on 0114 268 6813 or emailing

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