Helping to tackle the problems of isolation and loneliness in Staffordshire Moorlands is an important issue for me and this was the reason behind the very successful Senior Tea Dances and the Conference ‘Beyond the Front Door’ that I organised before the pandemic. I have worked with many local organisations and charities such as the People’s programme in Biddulph and the Royal Voluntary Service to help raise awareness of this important issue.
I know that it has been such a difficult time for many local people and that many have experienced feelings of loneliness. I am therefore pleased to support The Jo Cox Foundation’s Great Winter Get Together which is taking place from 17th – 21st January encouraging people to have conversations about loneliness. The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘there’s no shame in sharing’.
Loneliness is still a huge issue in this country. 77% of people in the UK think there’s a stigma associated with talking about loneliness and there are also very high levels of loneliness amongst young people. A recent survey showed us that 94% of 16 - 24 year olds have felt lonely in the last month.
So this week I am asking Moorlanders of all ages to think of someone who could be feeling lonely. It could be a neighbour, a friend, a relative, perhaps someone who lives on their own or someone you have not seen for a while.
Let’s all try to make an extra phone call or video call to say hello and check they are ok, pop a note or a child’s picture or hand designed card through their door or invite them round for a cup of tea or coffee.
If we all make an extra effort this week, just think how many smiles we will put on people’s faces.