News: New social media site tackles lockdown isolation for older people
Published: 9 Apr 2020
As the lockdown enters its third week, Churchill Fellow Kerry Rooney has come up with an innovative solution to help older people who are finding isolation difficult. With funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, Kerry's organisation Kaleidoscope has developed a new social media site exclusively for older people called Greysnet.
“We really wanted to do something to help older people all over the country who are struggling with isolation right now." – Kerry Rooney
The aim of Greysnet is to create a dedicated space for older people online. It’s a place where people at all stages of grey can go to chat with other older people all over the country.
Kerry Rooney is the director of Kaleidoscope. He says: “We really wanted to do something to help older people all over the country who are struggling with isolation right now. The current pandemic is particularly hard on older people. Not only are they more at risk from the worst effects of the virus but because the lockdown means that older people are cut off from their families, their friends and the social activities that help to keep them connected.”
As well as a vital social outlet, the site also offers lots of information about things to do to keep the mind and body active during the current pandemic. There are articles about everything from learning to play the ukulele to practicing Tai Chi.
Kaleidoscope, the organisation behind Greysnet, has a lot of experience developing innovative projects for older people. In 2014 the company set up the first-ever dedicated arts centre for older people in the UK.
Kerry adds: “The internet is a real lifeline for older people at this time. More and more older people are using the internet to stay connected but there’s a real lack of sites that are dedicated to older users. We wanted to create a space that was specifically for older people – a place to meet and chat to other older people all over the country and to find useful information to help stay active during the current crisis.”
Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland Director of The National Lottery Community Fund, which has funded this project, said: “We are delighted to support this great work, helping connect older people from their own homes, improve creativity and build friendships. This is a very lonely time for many older people who have been cut off from their families and particularly those who live on their own, but the Greysnet online service is a great example of how we can still bring people together virtually to help and support one another. National Lottery players can be proud that the money they have raised is helping to fund some of these efforts.”
As well as information about how to stay active, Greysnet will also be a place where older people can go to find honest and reliable information about staying healthy and coping with the coronavirus pandemic.