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Guest blog: Combating loneliness together

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Rachel Reeves MP and Seema Kennedy MP. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian newspaper

Jo Cox was a doer. She became an MP to change things. She was driven by compassion and a clear sense of right and wrong which led her to get involved in a number of issues in parliament and beyond which sat above party politics: from the plight of civilians caught up in the Syrian conflict to the lonely lives of some of her constituents in Batley and Spen in Yorkshire. Continue reading

Combating loneliness together

Jo Cox

Jo Cox MP

The brilliant children’s story writer Judith Kerr, now in her 90’s, has commented that the problem with being widowed is ‘not that there’s nobody to do things with, it’s that there’s nobody to do nothing with. You have to make some plan for the day otherwise there’s this shapeless emptiness.’ Her words, as usual, are precise and cut straight to the heart of the issue (as well as appealing straight to the heart) and also apply to loneliness more broadly.

Having ‘nobody to do nothing with’ affects more of us than we ever knew. So many of us are lonely in fact that it doesn’t feel an exaggeration to call it a crisis. Age UK research has found that half a million people over the age of 60 usually spend every day alone, with nearly half a million more often going at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all. Continue reading