Last week we launched a new national conversation on loneliness, that can strike at any age and at any time. We want people to be more open and less afraid of speaking about the issue and reaching out for help.
We kicked off the conversation last Monday – we did this standing in front of a huge public screen in Leicester Square highlighting our film for the #LetsTalkLoneliness campaign was a proud and exciting moment for me and many of the charities involved.
Loneliness is an emotion felt by everyone and the public reaction to its stigma has been extraordinary. Our #LetsTalkLoneliness sticker for use on social media as part of Loneliness Awareness Week has been used and viewed over 170k times – showing how much this important issue resonates with people.
Our world leading work in this area has grabbed people’s attention across the world. I’ve spoken to journalists, experts and Ministers from the US to Sweden, Australia and India to name just a few. What they tell me is the same: loneliness is just as much of a problem in their country and they are looking to the UK’s pioneering work to see how people can build more social connections and feel less isolated.
And tackling loneliness isn’t just about helping individuals feel better, it’s also good for our society too. Encouraging people to volunteer and take part in an activity they love is good for our communities. I visited Bonny Downs Community Association in East London this week. Their work is truly inspirational and and what was clear to me is that the money government is investing to tackle loneliness is making a real difference. Bonny Downs have already helped over a hundred people and will continue their work to reach 800 more over the next two years.
What we’ve begun with this campaign and our work through the Loneliness Strategy is having a genuine impact. I’ve been truly inspired this week to see your stories being shared on social media alongside national and local projects across the country that are people helping who are experiencing loneliness Together with my partners across Government, we will continue to reduce the stigma attached to being lonely and get more people talking.
I wrapped up my week by taking part in the Great Get Together, the incredible initiative inspired by Jo Cox, to get people talking and celebrate what we have in common.
Loneliness Awareness Week may now have come to a close, but our campaign continues apace. You can get involved by adding your support to our #LetsTalkLoneliness campaign on social media. Visit our get involved page to find out how.