Tackling loneliness

In this section

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. 

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 and can’t, for many reasons, take action to tackle it.

Who is feeling lonely?

Loneliness is not something that is unique to the elderly:

  • Parents - Action for Children found 24% of parents surveyed were always or often lonely
  • Teenagers - 62% are 'sometimes lonely' and one in 20 never spend time with friends at weekends
  • Carers - 8 out of 10 carers have felt lonely or isolated as a result of looking after a loved one

How is East of England Co-op Involved?

East of England Co-op currently has made £70k available to support a number of suitable projects, which would have a positive impact on loneliness in the communities that we serve.

To achieve our aims and ensure that the allocated funds are used effectively, East of England Co-op is working in partnership with the Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex Community Foundations to enable community groups to bid for a share of the funds.

The groups that have been supported so far are: 

  • Teen Talk (Harwich)
  • Sunbeams Play 
  • Activlives

The groups that have been supported so far are:

  • Teen Talk (Harwich)
  • Sunbeams Play 
  • Activlives

Goodgym is just one of the causes that has benefitted

GoodGym is a community of runners who get fit by doing good. Each week, members run to support people in their local area, completing physical tasks for community organisations or helping isolated older people with tasks around the home.

From sorting clothes donations to preparing stacks of sandwiches for the homeless, or helping clear overgrown planters in a volunteer-led community garden to create extra space for food growing. Roll up your sleeves and get stuck into a task that will make a difference to people who live in your area.

GoodGym are inviting East of England Co-op members to join them on a free run to do good in Norwich, Ipswich and Colchester.

Whether you run regularly or you haven't run before, everyone is welcome to join a GoodGym run. If you can jog for 15 minutes without stopping then you're fit enough to join them on a group run - no one ever gets left behind.

Many GoodGym runners can also choose to be paired with isolated older people and run to see them each week for a social visit. Over a million older people are lonely in the UK. Janet used to get out and about quite a lot but now in older age, she's in a wheelchair and isn't able to. It's made her very isolated. But since she’s been visited regularly by a GoodGym runner called Emily, she’s feeling happier and more connected – she’s an active part of her community again.

Every time you head out on a run, you’ll pass by the home of someone like Janet. Whether you have just five minutes to change a smoke alarm battery or 30 minutes for a chat while you’re out on your run – you can make a difference.