Did you know that the third Monday of January is known as Blue Monday? This is said to be the gloomiest day of the year due to post Christmas blues, credit card bills, the cold and the dark. Whatever the reason, it’s a good time to look at what is going on to combat gloom, in particular the blight of loneliness and isolation.
The statistics are shocking. Loneliness does not discriminate by age, geography or status. Most of us need social interaction and the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness has highlighted that, without the right support at the right time, loneliness can become a chronic state of unhappiness that contributes to poor health for the individual concerned, and ultimately rising pressure on public services.
Looking at supporting our communities here in West Berkshire, I am hosting a conference on Loneliness and Isolation in February. Organised with the Volunteer Centre and the CCB, the aim is to bring together as many organisations and interested individuals as possible to share information.
It will take place at the Fair Close Centre which provides a warm welcome and hot meals for senior citizens in and around Newbury. Like so many initiatives in this sector it relies on the goodwill and energy of volunteers so a plug here for the Volunteer Centre’s V365 event at the Corn Exchange on Saturday 12th January – a perfect opportunity to make 2019 your year of volunteering.