By Binzy Reynolds:
People across the UK are being called on to bake Marmalade Cakes for Loneliness Aware Week, (LAW), from June 18-25, 2018, to help communities combat the ‘silent epidemic’ affecting the lives of more than 9 million people.
LAW is being held by Marmalade Trust and the theme of baking Marmalade Connection Cakes has been chosen to help people connect and start conversations with neighbours and people in the community.
The call comes as Government figures reveal:
• 10% of people aged 16 to 24 are “always or often” lonely – the highest proportion of any age group and three times higher than people aged 65
• The UK is the third loneliest country in Europe
• Loneliness can be as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day
• Around 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month
• Three out of four GPs say they see between 1 and 5 people a day who have come in mainly because they are lonely
Marmalade Trust founder Amy Perrin said:
“Since we formed in 2013, loneliness has become an issue more people are aware of but just don’t know how to deal with or what to do. The days of popping into a neighbour’s house for a cuppa or taking an elderly relative a nice cake and having a chat can seem far in the past. We wanted to harness the country’s love of baking to benefit those who need it most.
LAW is about giving people the tools to approach those who are suffering in silence and make their days a little brighter. It is amazing the difference a quick chat and a smile can make to someone who is lonely. While having a bit of cake with someone might not be a ‘cure all’ for loneliness, we believe that for those who get involved it will open up new understanding of how connecting and reaching out can change lives for the better.”
MP Rachel Reeves, co-chair of the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission said: “More and more people recognise the importance of tackling loneliness. Initiatives like the Marmalade Trust’s Loneliness Awareness Week will help raise its profile even further and most importantly, encourage individuals to take action, start conversations and ultimately help people to connect.”
This is the second LAW which has been timed to tie into the Great Get Together organised across the country from 22nd-24th June in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox.
Amy Perrin also said:
“Jo Cox was passionate about tackling the issue of loneliness and a loneliness commission was started in her name last year. We’re hoping that the week will highlight the fact that loneliness is an issue that affects all walks of life. Most importantly though, we want to empower people to speak openly about it and encourage initiatives that will tackle the problem.”
People who either buy or make a Marmalade Connection Cake are being asked to post pictures of them with the hashtags: #LetsTalkLoneliness #MakeFriendsWithMarmalade #ConnectionCake
For more on how to help combat loneliness in your local community and updates on the various activities and events taking place that week, or to get involved, please go to the charity’s website or the government website.