The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness has launched an exciting opportunity to tackle loneliness in older people in our community.
The Commission is a cross-party initiative designed to increase the public’s awareness of loneliness and encourage us all to act to tackle it. Jo Cox MP was passionate about the issue of loneliness and started the Commission before her murder in June 2016. Age UK is now collaborating with a wide range of charities and Parliamentarians to honour Jo’s legacy.
The Commission is asking us all to ‘start a conversation’ about loneliness in our communities and what we can do about it. Loneliness not only makes life miserable but is terrible for our health: research has shown it is as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being morbidly obese.
The spotlight is on the issue for five weeks from 20 March to 23 April 2017.
There are a number of ways you can take part and help to tackle loneliness. They include:
- As individuals: by being a friend to the older people around us
- As families: by staying in touch with older relatives, including more distant family members and those living far away
- As communities: by working collaboratively and supporting local Age UKs and other voluntary groups that organise services and social activities for older people
Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin is organising several events during the five week period to help raise awareness locally about the issue of loneliness in older people and to help tackle it. ‘Now You See Me’ is an intergenerational tea party held at Shrewsbury School on 6 April with the aim of helping primary school children and older people to meet each other and break down some barriers while having fun and enjoying tea and cake. This is the second year of this fantastic event, which is organised by the charity’s volunteer Shrewsbury Supporters Group.
Many of the services we run also help to tackle loneliness. We run a Befriending and Telephone Buddy scheme and organise many Living Well activities which promote friendship. Our OPEL (Older People Enjoying Life) day centres around the county are also a vital way to provide social contact for many frail and vulnerable older people. Volunteering can also be a great way to beat loneliness; we have a wide range of roles and opportunities for people so that they can support the work we do and meet new friends too.
If you would like more information about tackling loneliness or any of our services, please call 01743 2332 123.