Places for Connection: The Great Winter Get Together
James Austin from the Jo Cox Foundation shares how you can get involved in this year’s Great Winter Get Together.
Jo Cox said: ‘I will not live in a country where thousands of people are living lonely lives, forgotten by the rest of us’.
Today is ‘Blue Monday’. While the claims behind Blue Monday being the most depressing day of the year aren’t factual, we do know that, alongside December, January is the loneliest month for many people. The warm glow of the festive season has receded, money is tight, and the days are still short and cold.
Which is why today, The Jo Cox Foundation is launching the Great Winter Get Together, our annual campaign to raise awareness of loneliness and to inspire connection at one of the loneliest times of the year.
This year it’s more important than ever to make sure that loneliness isn’t lost as an issue, as many Brits report being unable to afford their usual social activities due to the cost of living crisis.
Already 9 million people across the UK, and 15% of young people, face chronic loneliness, meaning that they feel lonely always or most of the time. New research we’ve conducted shows just how the cost of living crisis may be exacerbating the UK’s loneliness crisis, particularly among young people. We have found that 80% of young people felt lonely in the last month (compared to 30% of 65-74 year olds) and that 6 in 10 young people are unable to afford their normal social activities.
With the cost of living crisis having such an impact on people’s ability to connect, creating and advertising places for people to connect at little to no cost is a vital part of tackling loneliness. As part of the Great Winter Get Together, we have been asking organisations to advertise or put on events during the campaign period so that people can find their nearest place for connection this January.
We have had a fantastic response so far with over 1000 Places for Connection being registered with us and added to our online map. Events range from winter walks, to connecting around a camp fire or community food sharing. There is something for everyone and, hopefully, many people looking for connection will be able to find a spark in their local community as a result.
In Cardiff, people will be coming together around 3 ‘days of the soup’, community soup making hosted by local churches, while in Batley, local charities are coming together to host the Great Write Together. In Newcastle, young people will be developing theatre around their experiences of loneliness, while in Halton the local More In Common group is toasting the new year with a community Wassail.
We’d love for you to be part of the campaign, whether that be through registering something you’re running over the next few weeks or through sharing our research and messages.
You can find more information at greatgettogether.org/winter and download our partner toolkit which contains social media messaging and images that you can share.
When we feel lonely we seek out places for connection – and that is what the Great Winter Get Together is all about. We’d love you to join us.
Thanks @JamesAustin for this week’s blog on the Great Winter Get Together which officially starts today!