Loneliness; a rising epidemic

Loneliness is on the rise, particularly among the elderly, and the effects can be devastating.

It’s Loneliness Awareness Week and we want to highlight as much as possible all the awesome campaigns that are going on out there to combat this.

The week was set up by the Marmalade Trust (https://marmaladetrust.org) in an effort to help turn the tide.

The Marmalade Trust is dedicated to raising awareness of loneliness and helping people make new friendships and connections. They launched the first ever Loneliness Awareness Week (LAW) in 2017, which reached over a million people. It placed the extent of loneliness on the national agenda and actively supported those who took part to increase their social contact and make new friendships.
Loneliness and social isolation is something we can’t ignore. As social creatures, we need to attend to our loneliness just as we would eat if we’re hungry. Social connections are fundamental to our daily existence and help give meaning and purpose in our lives.

We want LAW to be an occasion where people come together and take actions to connect.

Earlier this week the Prime Minister Theresa May announced that in time for what would have been murdered Jo Cox’s 44th birthday that the government will be putting £20m towards charities tackling loneliness.

This comes at a time when loneliness is at its highest: A study by The Co-op and the British Red Cross reveals over 9 million people in the UK across all adult ages – more than the population of London – are either always or often lonely.

The Jo Cox Foundation carries on the late MP’s work, believing that we have more in common than we have to hate each other for.

And this weekend there will be events across the whole country in aid of combatting loneliness.

The Great Get Together, which is now in its second year, is again inspired by Jo, and is held with the hope of helping communities or anyone who is feeling alone, to socialise. See below for just a few of the Events being held in Kent.


The effects on our health

It cannot be overestimated how much loneliness can affect people, both physically and mentally. Recent research suggests that a lack of social connections can be as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, as well as increases the likelihood of mortality by 26%.

And when you think about those less likely to socialise due to not working or living alone, the statistics can become even more worrying. 1.9 million older people often feel ignored or invisible, with more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.

People are asking for help, even without asking. 3 out of 4 GPs say they see between 1 & 5 people a day who have come in mainly because they are lonely.


A national campaign

It is not just the Jo Cox foundation who are trying to help the situation, and it is not just the elderly who can suffer from loneliness. The paradox of the modern society is that while we are all hyper-connected with social media, real face to face connections are suffering.  Surprisingly, younger adults (those aged 16 to 24) were found to experience loneliness almost as much as the elderly and as work becomes more automated or possible to be done remotely, there are even campaigns to help end loneliness within the working age group.


There is a campaign to by the organisation Campaign to end Loneliness (www.campaigntoendloneliness.org ) who work across the UK to help the elderly who feel alone. They also have campaign managers for each nation, who aim to tackle loneliness in their local areas.


One of the main ways to combat loneliness is to keep busy, especially if it is by getting out of the house. Ageless Thanet run a series of events and activities for the over 50’s across Thanet. (http://sekgroup.org.uk/ageless-thanet/ )


But the main thing we can do is to help one another and to strangers. Don’t undervalue the positive effect of a smile, a telephone call, a text, email, a good word or a chat with a neighbour or stranger. We can all make a difference.





Jo Cox memorial lunch

Date: Sunday 24th June 2018

Time: 12:00 – 15:00

Location: 17 Harbour Street, Ramsgate The Ramsgate Tandoori, CT11 8HA

Open event: Anyone can attend



The Great Get Together – Give And Take Day

Date: Saturday 23rd June 2018

Time: 10:00 – 12:30

Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 40 Acres Rd, Canterbury.CT2 7HJ

Open event: Anyone can attend

Details: https://www.facebook.com/groups/153669584974059/

The Great Together Canterbury

Date: Sunday 24th June 2018

Time: 12:00 – 15:00

Location: Westgate Hall CT1 2BT

Open event: Anyone can attend

Details: http://westgatehall.org/calendar/2018-06/


St Barts Community Fun Day

Date: Saturday 23rd June 2018

Time: 12:00 – 16:00

Location: St Bartholomews Church King Edward Ave Herne Bay, CT6 6BQ

Open event: Anyone can attend

Details: [email protected]



Beach afternoon and bbq

Date: Saturday 14th July 2018

Time: 14:00 – 20:00

Location: West gate beach, CT8 8NG

Open event: Anyone can attend




Your Time Get Together

Date: Friday 22nd June 2018

Time: 11:00 – 14:00

Location: The Hussar, Canterbury Road, Garlinge, CT9 5JP

Open event: Anyone can attend

Details: http://www.thanetcommunitysupport.org.uk/



Tesco cream tea

Date: Wednesday 27th June 2018

Time: 12:55 – 15:00

Location: 475 margate road, CT10 2QJ

Open event: Anyone can attend



Rochester’s Great Get Together Tea Party with Music

Date: Saturday 23rd June 2018

Time: 13:00 – 16:00

Location: St Margaret’s Church, Rochester, ME1 1UJ

Open event: Anyone can attend

Details: http://www.parishofrochester.org.uk

For more information on all the events going on across the country please see the website: http://www.greatgettogether.org


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