What we’ve done so far
In 2015 when we asked you to vote for an issue for us to tackle and a partner to work with – you chose to tackle loneliness with the British Red Cross. At the time this was a real turning point as it helped return us to our campaigning heritage.
The fundraising is now over, and you raised an incredible £6.5million – almost double the target we initially set. With this money we’ve funded 39 British Red Cross Community Connectors who are working in local communities to help people reconnect with their communities. We aim to reach thousands of people with this work. Our Co-op membership that gives back 1% to a local cause also supports over one thousand charities that address loneliness and social isolation.
We’re already making a difference
Our new Community Connector service is helping people like Susan who lost her husband aged 37, shortly followed by her father. Years later she also lost her job and her health worsened leaving her with mobility problems. She told us how Sara, her Community Connector volunteer is helping her reconnect back to her community:
I can go for a week without seeing or speaking to anyone. We’re human beings; we’re social creatures and need contact. I’ve found it very difficult coping by myself. You can go down a black hole so quickly, loneliness saps all of your energy.”
“Sara, is trying to help me sort myself out – get back on track and get more mobile. I walked around the supermarket the other day. I know people might think ‘big deal’ but I got myself a drink and watched the world go by. A simple thing like that, something people do all the time without thinking about, for me it was wonderful; a real achievement! I finally feel I am starting to get back into the land of the living.”
Since the start we’ve been the only business on the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, set up in memory of Jo, who was deeply troubled by the loneliness she saw in her constituency. The commission has now released its final report, calling on the Government to take action on loneliness. Here’s the full report.
The Commission has done fantastic work and we want to make sure this continues, so we’re going to continue the good work by setting up a new national Loneliness Action Group – which we’ll chair jointly with the British Red Cross.
The group, meeting quarterly through 2018, will bring together national organisations tackling loneliness to share information and help each other.
In 2018 we’re also supporting a new All Party Parliamentary Group on Loneliness, bringing together politicians from all parties.
We look forward to sharing more updates with you in 2018.
Group Policy and Campaigns Director