Although loneliness can affect anyone at any time, the winter months can bring specific challenges. Christmas can be a reminder of loved ones who have passed away and, for those with reduced mobility, poor weather conditions can make it difficult to visit friends and family.
Small acts of kindness, such as visiting a neighbour, can make a big difference to others, which is why we’ve been supporting the Great Get Together since the launch of our Link Together campaign to alleviate loneliness in 2017.
This guest blog has been written by Eleanor Harrison, Partnerships and External Affairs Manager at the Jo Cox Foundation, about this year’s Winter Great Get Together and how WI members can get involved.
Following the incredible success of this summer’s Great Get Together, it’s time to bring our communities together again this winter to tackle loneliness.
Loneliness is an issue that was close to Jo Cox’s heart, expressed in her memorable words: “I will not live in a country where thousands of people are living lonely lives forgotten by the rest of us.” Jo recognised that loneliness is an issue that doesn’t discriminate. It can affect anyone, from the elderly and those with health and mobility issues to new mums, refugees and the recently bereaved. The scale of the issue is huge, with a landmark report from the British Red Cross in 2016 finding that over 9 million people are affected by loneliness in the UK.
At The Jo Cox Foundation, we are committed to continuing Jo’s legacy and building stronger communities where everyone has a sense of belonging. We are so grateful to all of the WI members who participated in the Great Get Together this summer to help make this vision a reality. You were part of an amazing movement of 720,000 people who took part in over 11,000 events over the June weekend!
Our CEO, Catherine Anderson, would like to express her thanks: “The WI has long been at the heart of so many communities, and we are so grateful to have your support. The year on year commitment of WI members to Jo’s legacy and values of kindness and compassion is an inspiration to all of us at the Foundation and our wider community of organisers. We can’t wait to see how you’ll get involved in the Great Get Together again this winter!”
We would love you to take part in the Great Get Together again this December and help to tackle loneliness in your community. There are so many ways to get involved, from hosting a festive feast for elderly people in your area, to rallying a group of carol singers to visit those who are unable to leave their homes, to simply knocking on a neighbour’s door with a mince pie. Whatever you decide to do, you can be sure to make a real difference in the life of someone who might be feeling lonely this winter.
To find more inspiration, ideas and resources, visit our website.
We’d love to hear your stories of how you Get Together this winter! Don’t forget to tag us on social media at @great_together and if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with our team by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a Great Get Together this Winter!