What communities can do to help combat loneliness
"There is a problem of loneliness that in our busy lives we have utterly failed to confront as a society, apart from the sheer cost of human unhappiness, loneliness is as bad for one's health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It is worse for you than obesity because it increases the risk of heart disease, blood clots and dementia."
Jeremy Hunt, Oct 2013
We may be bombarded by communications more than ever before, however, that does not necessarily mean we feel connected, supported and part of something and somewhere. The negative impact of loneliness on people’s health and wellbeing is now better understood and by addressing loneliness in our communities we can help prevent deterioration in health and improve quality of life considerably.
As church, we have a unique opportunity to be part of the solution. Many churches run coffee mornings or lunch clubs, social groups or special interest groups. Being open and inclusive in our welcome, encouraging people to come along, perhaps by visiting and accompanying them along to a group can all be part of helping to address loneliness in our society.
The Diocese of Hereford is also working to support the setting up of Good Neighbour Schemes. These can be another way of helping those who may feel isolated or lonely to get practical support.
Compassionate Communities are another local grassroots initiative which enables local people to journey with those who may be experiencing loneliness and help them reconnect with their communities.
For further information about Compassionate Communities see.
For more information about resources on how communities can combat loneliness and isolation contact Mary Oxley