Isolation and loneliness are key issues most prisoners suffer with on a daily basis. They are also very common amongst the elderly.
‘One can feel lonely in the midst of other people. Older family members and care home residents may not appear to be physically isolated, but their relationship with the people they live with may not be enough to ward off loneliness, particularly when the death of friends and loved ones takes away the companionship they need.’ (Age UK publications evidence review loneliness and isolation).
BreakAway is currently undertaking research for a pilot of our new intergenerational befriending service between pensioners and prisoners; helping to open up conversations between two “isolated” groups in order to reduce the loneliness each participant may feel, so that ultimately they feel part of the society they once wronged, and if the offender feels accepted and responsible for their community this should reduce their risk of reoffending.
The project has already seen positive engagement, with current professionals from both establishments have stated that they believe the programme could have a huge benefit for their participants and are very excited to take part in the pilot.
BreakAway hopes to find that the pilot positively impacts both sets of participants. We are hoping that while the prisoners provide someone to communicate with; the pensioners can also use their life experience to somewhat ‘encourage and mentor’ the prisoners into making positive choices.