Isolation and Loneliness: not just for Christmas

There are lots of organisations doing great work to help reduce loneliness and isolation, including the Campaign to End Loneliness. Despite the hard work lots of people and organisations put in to ending isolation and loneliness we still have over 800,000 chronically lonely people in England.  Three things really frustrate and infuriate me about this area:

  1. People feel lonely throughout the year, yet it is only in the weeks before Christmas that this issue is highlighted in the media.  It seems when the weather is a bit nicer and Christmas isn’t a few weeks away it doesn’t really matter that people are lonely and isolated.

  2. When people talk about loneliness, they mainly talk about older people.  It is important we do something to help the thousands of older people who are lonely, but what about everyone else who experiences it?  Many people probably don’t even recognise they are lonely as it is a term associated with people aged over 60.

  3. Many organisations do not collaborate or support other organisations working towards similar goals.  I recently spent a morning in Reading asking people to help promote a free coach holiday for isolated older people in the area by putting up a poster in their shop.  I wasn’t asking for money, all I was asking for was for them to display one poster for a couple of weeks.  I wasn’t overly surprised when high street shops and restaurants said no, but I was outraged when charity shops said they couldn’t put a poster in their shop! I can’t understand why a charity would not be willing to help local people find out about a free coach holiday! Having volunteered in a charity shop for several months myself I was really surprised by the lack of enthusiasm and excitement from the volunteers and staff in the shops I visited.  If charities will not support each other, how can we expect individuals and businesses to support us?

Overcoming society’s problem with loneliness

A dragon's best friend

Summary

Examining a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (see here), having a look at the impact of the structure of our economy, and some personal experiences too.

[Updated on 25 Apr 2014 to add: Labour MP Tom Watson used this blogpost to help inform a column piece on loneliness as a public policy issue in The Mirror – see his article here. He even sent a ‘thank you’ tweet!

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In the middle of 2013 I blogged about loneliness in response to Stephen Fry – see here. That post is very much a personal journey through something that I’ve felt throughout my adult life, reflected in my inability to connect deeply with anyone. Yet the more I’ve pondered on this, the more I’ve started…

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