A pioneering campaign to combat loneliness has been voted the best of the past 12 months in a public vote.
As part of Local Newspaper Week, the public was asked to vote for the local or regional newspaper campaign which had made the biggest difference to its local community.
More than 12,000 votes were cast in the online poll and the Yorkshire Post was announced as the winner at Friday’s Regional Press Awards.
The Johnston Press-owned title won the prize for its campaign Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic launched earlier this year in conjunction with national charity the Campaign to End Loneliness.
Said Adrian: “This year’s Local Newspaper Week, the Making a Difference award and indeed many of the awards presented today have shown us how the campaigning journalism at the heart of our newspapers fundamentally changes people’s lives – whether it’s raising funds for a life-saving operation or cleaning up a local park, halting the closure of a much-loved museum or fighting for local jobs.
“People often turn to their local paper when they have nowhere else to go. They trust their local paper to stand up for them, to give them a voice and to help change things for the better. No-one else could do what our newspapers do for our readers and their families.
“And in today’s digital world, our campaigns are proving even more effective because we’re able to reach and mobilise the armies of readers who follow our newspapers online, on Twitter and on other social media platforms. Our 30 million a week print readers are bolstered by 79 million web users a month. We’re able to turn around campaigns faster than ever – often in days, rather than weeks or months.”
The Post had previously revealed that there are 281,870 over 65s who live alone across Yorkshire almost a third of whom admit to feeling lonely all the time or often.
It has also revealed the disturbing health burden that is created by loneliness and isolation including a heightened risk of high blood pressure and developing dementia.
The paper, which won the support of TV campaigner Esther Rantzen, urged all local authorities to write loneliness into their health strategies and to encourage more volunteers to take part in projects to alleviate the problem.