Rebecca Lester, Marie O’Dell, Robert Hodgson, Bree McLennan (with apologies from Luke Kelly) joined us at our meeting on May 26th to share the findings of their Leaders for Geelong project - Loneliness in Geelong.
The project was carried out on behalf of Barwon Health with the following brief;
To understand relevant contributing factors to loneliness and its impact on physical and mental health, to inform recommendations to address loneliness in the Geelong community, specifically young adults (18–24 years), so as to better target existing services and develop relevant information for dissemination.
The key goals and objectives for this project are to:
  • Develop a better understanding of both the prevalence and the impact of loneliness in the Geelong region based on existing data sources and using a strength-based approach.
  • Collate a list of existing services available in the Geelong region that may be appropriate to address loneliness.
  • Identify any gaps in service coverage and propose solutions. Identify opportunities for collaboration between service providers.
  • Develop material to promote education and awareness of loneliness in the public realm (for example, possible targets could include workplaces, schools, universities, Barwon Health, City of Greater Geelong, Geelong Cats etc.
  • Identify a pathway to extend the impact of this project beyond its life time by embedding the work in community and research organisations who can continue to implement our findings.
  • Disseminate our findings across key stakeholders including a report of actionable findings to Barwon Health.
There are many benefits associated to the project:
  • A healthier and more socially-connected community.
  • A proactive approach to mental health rather than being reactive.
  • Better targeted resource allocation for services in the community to address loneliness.
  • Breaking the cycle of concomitant health issues enabled through loneliness, allowing health providers such as Barwon Health to reduce the number of acute care patients.
  • Ultimately, improved physical and mental health outcomes, including lower suicide rates in the Geelong region.
Their presentation can be found at this link.
and the full report at;

About the Leaders for Geelong Program

The Leaders for Geelong program is providing our city-region with inspired and well-connected visionaries, who are better prepared to lead their own organisations and the wider community.
Leaders for Geelong (LfG) is a 24-month program that develops personal leadership capacity through a unique learning experience, designed to address the current social, economic, and environmental issues of importance to the Geelong city-region. Now in its 16th year, is designed to build regional leadership capacity to shape a better future for our region. This is a community leadership program and is different from mainstream leadership programs.
Participants are challenged and inspired by renowned leaders and subject matter experts, undertake ‘behind the scenes’ tours, discuss case studies and participate in a range of other activities. The program also sees participants working in teams on a community-based project of regional significance.