Photographed by Aimee Haynes
Disconnected communities could be losing the UK economy £32 million per year with over 9 million adults in the UK claiming to always feel lonely according to the British Red Cross Figures and Co-op, 2016. With 3.6 million people aged 65 years and older claiming they are lonely, they are one of the key areas affected by loneliness that is now an epidemic in the UK.
Loneliness is worse for the body then 15 cigarettes a day (Holt Lunstad 2010) and makes you twice as likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s, increasing mortality in over 65’s by 45%. The Jo Cox Commission was created by the labour MP before her murder in 2016 to run for one year and turbo charge the government’s action on this matter, as she herself had struggled with loneliness and could see the need for cross-party action. Following her death, Seema Kennedy MP and Rachel Reeves MP then published The Jo Cox Loneliness Commission (2017) whereby 13 organisations came together to listen and react to issues of loneliness. In January 2018 a minister of loneliness, Tracey Crouch MP was appointed in parliament with a commitment to creating a loneliness fund and commissioning an England wide strategy.
Following this charge many more organisations have been influenced to take control and help tackle the issue, providing a number of activities and social settings for the elderly and I think it is important to make these services known to those struggling. ‘You Are Not Alone’ looks at individual stories of loneliness and the groups out there helping to combat it, in a hope to raise awareness of this issue.
See more of Aimee’s work on her website.