Loneliness is described by the Campaign to End Loneliness as a subjective, unwelcome feeling of lack or loss of companionship, which happens when we have a mismatch between the quantity and quality of social relationships that we have, and those that we want.
Loneliness can affect anyone at any stage of their life.
It can affect people of all ages and from all backgrounds - from the bullied school child, to the new mother, to the pensioner who has outlived her friends and immediate family. Feeling lonely becomes a major problem when people are overwhelmed by it – when it is chronic - and can’t, for many reasons, take action to tackle it.
Loneliness can affect anyone at any stage of their life
- 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.
- Research commissioned by Eden Project initiative The Big Lunch found that disconnected communities could be costing the UK economy £32 billion every year.
- A survey by Action for Children found that 43% of 17 – 25 year olds who used their service had experienced problems with loneliness, and that of this same group less than half said they felt loved.
- Action for Children have also reported 24% of parents surveyed said they were always or often lonely.
- Research by Sense has shown that up to 50% of disabled people will be lonely on any given day.
- Research conducted by The Forum which examined loneliness amongst refugees and migrants in London found 58% of those surveyed described loneliness and isolation as their biggest challenge.
- A report by Carers UK revealed that 8 out of 10 carers have felt lonely or isolated as a result of looking after a loved one.
- A report by the Alzheimer’s Society found a third of people with dementia said they lost friends following a diagnosis. Almost 1 in 10 only leave the house once a month.
- Analysis by Age UK shows 3.6 million people aged 65 and over agree that the television is their main form of company.
- Polling conducted by Independent Age found more than 1 in 3 people aged 75 and over say that feelings of loneliness are out of their control.
Individuals and organisations across the country have been working tirelessly to combat loneliness for many years. Before her death Jo Cox devised a plan to bring these campaigns together and launch a major Commission to ‘turbo-charge’ the issue as one of national urgency.
THE JO COX COMMISSION ON LONELINESS
For the first time, Members of Parliament, policy makers and more than a dozen leading organisations have come together to expose the growing crisis of loneliness and find ways to overcome it. Following Jo’s example of working across party lines the Commission is Co-Chaired by Seema Kennedy MP (Con) and Rachel Reeves MP (Lab).
The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness will be working throughout 2017 with the following partners – Action for Children, Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, The British Red Cross, The Campaign to End Loneliness, Carers UK, The Co-op, Eden Project Communities, Independent Age, Refugee Action, Royal Voluntary Service, Sense and The Silver Line - to shine a light on different aspects of loneliness and the positive steps we can all take to combat it.
The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness will work to address the impact loneliness has on so many different sections of society. It will focus on the positive action we can all take to recognise it, build connections and help ourselves and/or others.
The Commission aims not simply to highlight the problem, but more importantly to act as a "call to action”. With the message ‘Start a Conversation’, the Commission will try to get people talking at all levels - whether chatting to a neighbour, visiting an old friend, or just making time for the people they meet. The Commission will also target businesses and employer organisations and look at what action local and national Government can take to combat loneliness.