Thanks to the hard work and generous donations of our colleagues and members, we’ve raised £5.5 million to tackle loneliness – smashing the original target we set by two million pounds. That’s a really impressive amount of money to raise in just over 18 months.

We couldn’t have done this without everyone playing their part – so whether you’ve baked, dressed up, donated, run a marathon, or worked in one of the support functions to make it all happen – you deserve a huge thank you.

Our fundraising only officially stops at the end of March, so it’ll take a while to get our ‘final final’ total, and we’ll share this with you at our AGM on 20 May.

The next phase of our partnership, starting now, is about using the money to deliver new services for people experiencing loneliness, and responding directly as a community retailer and employer.

Here’s what the next stage of our partnership will look like:

New services

With the British Red Cross we’ll set up new services in 39 locations – from the North of Scotland to the West of Cornwall, to help some 12,500 people currently experiencing loneliness.

One-to-one support for thousands

Our British Red Cross ‘community connectors’ – experts in psychosocial support and safeguarding – and their teams of volunteers, will provide programmes of intensive support to help people reconnect with their communities.

Extra support for colleagues

We know that this is an issue that also affects many of our colleagues. So we’ll be re-launching our Employee Assistance Programme, allowing colleagues to confidentially seek support, including signposting to relevant British Red Cross services.

Bringing communities together to tackle loneliness

  • Through our membership we’re supporting thousands of community groups, including 144 responding specifically to loneliness, helping to build stronger community connections
  • Our Insurance business, in partnership with Neighbourhood Watch, will set up 30,000 new groups over four years, to strengthen communities and bring neighbours together
  • Our Funeralcare business will expand its social groups for people who have been bereaved

There’s still so much to do, and our campaign to tackle loneliness is only just getting going. As our plans become clearer there will be many opportunities for colleagues to get involved, so we’ll be asking for your help. I’m sure that once again we can rely on colleagues to go above and beyond to make life better for people experiencing loneliness.

I can’t say it enough – but thank you for everything you’ve done so far.