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Walk on the Wild Side for older visitors

By David Porter

Older visitors can take a free walk on the wild side thanks to a partnership between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and Age Scotland.

Visitors to Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park will be able to bring guests over the age of 60 for free between Friday, October 11 and Friday 18 in a bid to tackle loneliness.

Scotland’s national charity for older people and the wildlife conservation charity have teamed up for the first time as part of Age Scotland’s ‘Share What You Love’ campaign, which aims to cut loneliness in older people by half over the next five years.

The partnership will encourage younger people to take along an older person when they visit the zoo or park, inspiring them to spend more quality time with older friends or relatives.

The promotion is valid for up to two people aged 60 or over with every full price adult ticket or adult RZSS member.

Age Scotland chief executive Brian Sloan said: “It’s heart-breaking that hundreds of thousands of older people in Scotland go days or weeks without even a visit or friendly voice on the phone.

“More than 100,000 older people in Scotland say they feel lonely most or all of the time, with half of over-75s saying that their television or a pet is their main form of company.

“We are delighted to team up with RZSS to encourage people to spend quality time with an older person and enjoy a fun day out meeting the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo and chilling with the polar bears at the Highland Wildlife Park.

“Photos can be shared using the hashtag #ShareWhatYouLove.

"We are looking forward to seeing everyone’s adventures.

“Age Scotland are on a mission to cut loneliness in Scotland in half by 2025.

"By teaming up with partner organisations and encouraging people of all ages to spend time with older people we can all do our bit to beat this public health crisis.”

RZSS Chief Executive Barbara Smith said: “We are thrilled to be part of the Share What You Love campaign which is tackling the issue of loneliness in elderly people.

“By encouraging our visitors to bring along a friend or family member over the age of 60 when they visit the zoo or park,we can help make a positive impact on the wellbeing of those in later life.”

Anyone who would like more information on Age Scotland’s Share What You Love campaign can visit sharewhatyou.love.

Further details on visiting Edinburgh Zoo or the Highland Wildlife Park can be found at www.rzss.org.uk/agescotland as terms and conditions apply.

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