Today, the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness is being launched at the Houses of Parliament. Issues around loneliness are now appearing in the media on an almost weekly basis, such is the concern by government, charities and wider society. This is a major concern in relation to mental, physical and spiritual health of people of all ages and the commission is therefore focusing on the implications at all stages of life.
We are working hard to address these issues by supporting churches to set up befriending schemes in their local communities. These schemes enable volunteers to visit those dealing with loneliness and social isolation in their own homes, normally once a week for around one hour. These visits can be a real lifeline and are an opportunity to provide good quality time for someone else which is often mutually beneficial.
Many volunteers find that they discover a huge amount of interesting information about
life in previous generations including stories from the war, and the time together is one which both parties look forward to every week. Where this is physically possible, volunteers are also encouraged to go out with their friend, and trips to garden centres, coffee shops or local parks become an opportunity to explore âoutside of the four wallsâ.
We are now working with 16 projects that have been set up in partnership with â mainly â local churches across the country ranging from Yorkshire to Guernsey! Our aim is to set up a further 12 projects per year. Using the Loneliness Heatmap produced by Age UK last year, we are also planning to target those areas of the country classed as being at very high risk of loneliness among the over 65âs. We will then be looking build partnerships with various local agencies in these areas so as to reach and support older people most in need of company and social events.
If you would like to find out more about our work please phone 0300 302 0225.