This Blue Monday, new research from The Jo Cox Foundation highlights how a staggering 80% of young people (aged 18-24) felt lonely in the past month, versus 30% of 65– 74-year-olds.

With year-on-year research highlighting how young people remain the loneliest age group in the UK – with 6 in 10 young people reporting being unable to afford their usual social activities because of the cost-of-living crisis – places for connecting with new people, at little to no cost, are vital in tackling youth loneliness.

Beginning today (16 January) on Blue Monday – and running for the next two weeks – over 660 events are taking place in communities up and down the UK as part of the Jo Cox Foundation’s Great Winter Get Together campaign which saw 1.47 million people participate last year.

Great Winter Get Together events are all about making new connections with others, building a sense of community and tackling isolation. Events range from winter walks to board games nights for young people, and community food sharing from different cultures.

The late Jo Cox

Su Moore, CEO of the Jo Cox Foundation, said:
“While people’s calendars are often busy in December, the new year can be a difficult time for many – with fewer opportunities to socialise, tighter finances, and the days remaining cold and dark.

“Our research into loneliness in 2021 highlighted the startling reality that young people are the most affected, and sadly, this still remains the case following our latest poll. That’s why ensuring there are opportunities for meaningful connection in communities is crucial this January, especially for young people. Connecting with others doesn’t need to cost anything and we’d encourage everyone to look for a Great Winter Get Together in their area, particularly if you are feeling isolated amid this cost-of-living crisis.”

Rt Hon Jacqui Smith, Chair of The Jo Cox Foundation, said:
“As an MP, Jo Cox was passionate about shining a light on the impact of loneliness in UK society and set up the Loneliness Commission to turbo-charge the public’s awareness of this issue. Through the pandemic, and now the cost-of-living crisis, we carry this work forward with the annual Great Winter Get Together, which is a brilliant way for people to feel more connected in their community.”

Anyone can participate in the Great Winter Get Together this January. Visit the map on the Great Get Together website to find events taking place near you.

The nearest events to Bude on the map are at Bideford and Okehampton, but if anyone has anything nearer we’d love to hear from you.