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Charity calling on the people of Sussex to help end loneliness

PUBLISHED: 09:53 02 December 2014

Be a Friend

Be a Friend

Archant

A report by charity Friends of the Elderly found that over five million older people in the UK are affected by loneliness, with more than a million (1 in 10 older people) saying they often feel lonely.

The Future of Lonelinessreport further predicts that, through demographic change alone, these numbers will increase by around 40 per cent over the next 15 years. Unless we act now. From experience and the findings of the report, Friends of the Elderlyknows that simply having everyday interactions with other people can help combat loneliness. However, a survey revealed that over a third (38 per cent) of people in the south east have irregular or no contact with older people, and almost 40 per cent don’t know their neighbours well enough to have a conversation with. The good news is that almost 60 per cent of the region said they would like to do more to support older people where they live. That’s why this summer the charity launched the Be a Friendcampaign to connect neighbours, individuals and whole communities.

Small things, big difference

Being a friend is easy; it is simply getting to know the people that live around you and looking out for each other where you can. From having a chat at the bus stop or over the garden fence, there are so many simple ways you can stay connected and make a difference to someone’s day. If you’re driving into town, why not drop in on an older neighbour and ask if they need anything or would like to join you? If you’re out at work in the daytime, why not ask an older neighbour to keep a key to your house or look out for a delivery? It really is easy to make someone feel less alone and help make sure everyone leads a happy and full life, whatever their age.

The charity is delighted with the support that the campaign has received to date - over 700 people have made a promise to Be a Friendvia the campaign website (www.beafriendtoday.org.uk). From a simple ‘hello’ that turned into lasting friendship, to an unexpected birthday surprise from a group of neighbours, friends have been sharing their amazing stories of how small gestures have brought people together.

Sussex - Are you up for the challenge?

There is no doubt that preventing our ageing society from becoming lonelier will be a challenge. But there is plenty of potential for a new generation to find a better connected older life. That’s why Friends of the Elderlyis calling on the people of Sussex – from residents and support groups, to businesses and other charities – to Be a Friend and drive the culture change that will end loneliness.

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To make your promise to Be a Friendand for more information, visit www.beafriendtoday.org.uk

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