Weekly Column 24.06.20

Last week was Loneliness Awareness Week. This is such an important issue and before the Pandemic I organised some Senior Tea Dances and my Conference “Beyond the Front Door” to try and help tackle the problem of elderly loneliness and isolation. I was also pleased to host some virtual coffee mornings during lockdown, hosting the events live on Moorlands Radio to try and bring local people together during these difficult times.

Last week also saw the anniversary of the tragic death of Jo Cox MP who was dedicated to combating loneliness in the UK. Following recommendations from the Jo Cox Foundation, the Government launched its Loneliness Strategy, which committed to tackling the stigma of loneliness and promoting the importance of social connections. And from this, the #LetsTalkLoneliness campaign was born, to encourage everyone to start the conversation and say it’s OK to feel lonely and it’s okay to talk about it.

Many people and particularly older people in the Moorlands are inevitably going to be feeling even more isolated than before. Those who are considered extremely vulnerable and are shielding are being asked to stay inside for a prolonged period of time and are at even greater risk of loneliness.

There are plenty of ways we can all help people who might be feeling lonely whether it is a phone call to friends and relatives or a letter or a card or a child’s drawing to cheer someone up and make their day. Let’s remind everyone that they are missed and that we are thinking of them.

Age UK are also working hard to alleviate loneliness through the befriending scheme, Call in Time, which allows people to sign up for a free weekly friendship call. Information can be found on the Age UK website:  www.ageuk.org.uk