Nus Ghani MP has backed the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, following its recent launch.
Jo Cox was the Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen, and had begun setting up the Commission on Loneliness before she was murdered in her constituency in June 2016.
She decided to help combat loneliness after she witnessed the extent of the crisis in her constituency, saying: “Young or old, loneliness doesn’t discriminate… it is something many of us could easily help with. Looking in on a neighbour, visiting an elderly relative or making that call or visit we’ve been promising to a friend we haven’t seen in a long time.”
Following her death, the Commission is now being chaired by Seema Kennedy, Conservative MP for South Ribble, and Rachel Reeves, Labour MP for Leeds West. This is a reflection of Jo’s work across party lines. Under the slogan “Start a Conversation”, the Commission aims to act as a call to action, raising awareness of loneliness as a problem and mobilising the public to help, whether it be by talking to a neighbour, visiting an old friend or making time for the people they meet.
The Commission will also be targeting businesses and employer organisations, and looking at what action local and national government can take to combat loneliness.
Commenting, Ms Ghani said: “Having been Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ageing and Older People for eighteen months, I hear first-hand the effect of loneliness on older people, of whom it is the biggest killer. Some of the people I meet have not spoken to anyone other than me for a week. But it affects people of all ages and I’m delighted to support the Jo Cox Commission’s work to tackle this terrible problem.”
A study by The Co-op and the British Red Cross reveals over 9 million people in the UK across all adult ages are either always of often lonely – this is more than the population of London. Sense have found that up to 50% of disabled people will be lonely on any given day, and Carers UK revealed that 80% of cares have felt lonely or isolated as a result of their caring duties for a loved one. Age UK analysis shows 3.6 million people aged 65 and over agree that the television is their main form of company.
The Commission is partnered with Action for Children, Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, The British Red Cross, The Campaign to End Loneliness, Carers UK, The Co-op, Eden Project Communities, Independent Age, Refugee Action, Royal Voluntary Service, Sense and The Silver Line.