NEIL HAMILTON, MS for Mid & West Wales, and Leader of UKIP Wales is calling on his constituents to back a national initiative to tackle loneliness during the coronavirus crisis.
Mr Hamilton, a member of the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs committee, is urging people to continue to help lonely people during lockdown.
He said: “The UK Government launched a public campaign last month aiming to ensure that, for people of all ages and backgrounds, staying at home does not need to lead to loneliness.
“There are nine million lonely people in the UK and four million of them are older people. During this Covid – 19 outbreak many of them will find constant loneliness hardest to overcome.
“For many people this is a very difficult time, so it is vital everyone make a real effort to stay connected to those who might be feeling lonely. It can make a huge difference just to receive a telephone call.
“We are all probably guilty of becoming immersed in our own lives and forgetting that there are people out there who are deeply lonely. “It is important we all remember to keep in touch so I welcome any initiatives to promote this. Despite lockdown restrictions being eased, there are still many people having to cope alone.
“The Campaign to End Loneliness is just one charity which is providing help and guidance through these challenging times and I hope everyone will respond to their call and offer their support to any lonely person in their community.”
Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Independent Age and Chair of the Campaign to End Loneliness, said: “Even before Covid-19, millions of people in the UK were experiencing loneliness. The lockdown, while necessary, has exacerbated this problem, particularly for older people, who are more likely to live alone, and less likely to be internet users. In our recent UK wide polling of people aged 65+, three out of four, 75% respondents said their contact with family or friends has been significantly limited due to the crisis. “Many charities, including Independent Age and the Campaign to End Loneliness, are expanding and adapting their services and messaging to meet this growing need for people to be socially connected, at a time when fundraising opportunities have been hit hard so the Government’s increased support for those delivering vital services is welcome.
“Loneliness cannot be considered a second-tier issue during this crisis. By working together, we can help ensure that more people are staying physically distant, but socially connected during the lockdown, as well as putting in place services and support to assist people in the recovery phase post-pandemic.”
As coronavirus continues to spread across the UK, it will be harder for people to maintain their social connections and the help and guidance from organisations such as the Campaign to End Loneliness will be vital. Their web page provides up to date ideas for how we can all combat social isolation and look out for each other during the spread of the virus. They will also link to the latest guidance and advice from government, charities and experts on how to stay safe and healthy during the outbreak. The organisation is encouraging us all to call friends, colleagues and relatives regularly on the phone and see how they are; create WhatsApp groups with neighbours, family or friends; use Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date and keep in touch, and offer to help with shopping or running errands.