LOCKDOWN LONELINESS: A THIRD OF BRITONS HAVEN’T SPOKEN TO ANOTHER PERSON PROPERLY IN A WEEK

·      NEW REPORT HIGHLIGHTS HOW LONELINESS IS TAKING HOLD DURING LOCKDOWN

·      A THIRD OF BRITONS SAY THEY DON’T HAVE ANYONE TO TURN TO

·      WHILE ONE IN FOUR WORRY NO ONE WOULD NOTICE IF SOMETHING HAPPENED TO THEM

The coronavirus crisis is exposing how a lack of meaningful connections can increase feelings of loneliness – and many people fear they will become lonelier in the future.

To coincide with Loneliness Awareness Week, a new British Red Cross report – Life After Lockdown: Tackling Loneliness Among the Left Behind – has been released that reveals over one in four of adults (28%) worry no one would notice if something happened to them and a third (33%) fear their loneliness will only get worse.

Of those polled, 41% report feeling lonelier since lockdown, with a third (33%) confessing they haven’t had a meaningful conversation in the last week. Despite signs of community spirit making a comeback during lockdown, 37% say their neighbours are like strangers to them.

Life After Lockdown also shows that 31% feel they have no one to turn to and, for many, their lack of quality connections and loneliness is accompanied by other vulnerabilities – a lower income, long-term health conditions, mental health issues, the challenges of coming to the UK as a refugee or person seeking asylum.

The report also identified that some groups were more likely to experience loneliness than others – people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, parents, young people and those with limited access to digital technology and the internet.

IMPACT ON PEOPLE FROM BAME BACKGROUNDS

More than half of people from BAME backgrounds (52%) feel like their neighbours are strangers – 15% higher than the national average. 38% say they often feel alone and like they have no one to turn to, while one in three (31%) feel no one would notice if something happened to them. In fact, 41% fear their loneliness will get worse, compared to 33% of the population as a whole.

FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN

A higher proportion of those with young children living at home reported feeling lonely – 64% of those with children below the age of five report feelings of loneliness (a third of them always or often).  Moreover, 49% of those with children below the age of five feel they have no one to turn to, compared to the national average of 30%.

LONELINESS ACROSS THE GENERATIONS

The younger generations appear to be struggling most with loneliness, with 30% of 18-24 year olds and 24% of 25-34 year olds saying they feel often or always lonely, compared to 17% of 35-44 year olds, 13% of 45-54 year olds, 13% of 55-64 year olds, 8% of 65-74 year olds and 10% of those aged 75 and above.

The British Red Cross is calling for secure and sustained funding to be provided to tackle loneliness and for organisations to work collaboratively, and with those they support, to find ways of addressing its root causes.

Local organisations who can help are Seafriends and coronavirus support group 01323 899054.