Slough’s wellbeing board is calling on residents to sign up to a national campaign to tackle loneliness in older people.
Around 1,500 older people in the borough are thought to suffer from social isolation and chronic loneliness; not speaking to any friends or family for more than a week at a time.
Now the wellbeing board – a group of key leaders from across the public, private and voluntary sectors in Slough – is encouraging residents to sign up to ITV Good Morning Britain’s 1 Million Minutes campaign.
The campaign – named as there is estimated to be more than one million socially isolated people in the UK – asks people to pledge to give anything between 50 and 120 minutes of their time this Christmas to help a lonely older person.
Chair of the wellbeing board and deputy leader of the council, Sabia Hussain, has already signed the pledge to give some of her time.
She said: “It is heart breaking to think there are so many people in Slough who may not speak to anyone from one week to the next, who live isolated and invisible lives.
“Loneliness can be crushing and lead to depression, anxiety and physical as well as mental illnesses.
“Please sign up to this excellent campaign – give what you can, whether 15 minutes to chat to someone on the phone or an hour to help at a lunch club or event.
“Every minute pledged will make a difference and that difference for one older person could be everything.”
Anyone wanting to pledge should visit www.itv.com/goodmorningbritain/1millionminutes/1-million-minutes-2017 and click on the number of minutes you can give. You will then be offered a range of local opportunities where your time can help.
Schools and groups can also sign up and find special group opportunities in the neighbourly section.
Councillor Hussain added: “Please sign up and then let us know how you are helping. Tell us on twitter with #millionminutesforSlough or email firstname.lastname@example.org ; together we can make the lives of our older people a less lonely one this Christmas.”