Campaign to combat loneliness

by Marco Cillario Fri 12 February 2016, 6:23 pm

An organisation supporting charitable initiatives has launched a campaign to combat loneliness in Berkshire.

Berkshire Community Foundation is aiming to raise £75,000 to help children, adults and older people struggling with isolation across the county through its ‘A Life Less Lonely’ initiative.

Homeless and older people living alone and young carers are top priorities within the campaign.

According to recent research, homelessness in Reading has increased by 700% in the last three years. And 35,000 elderly in the borough live alone. Also, it is estimated that children with ill relatives can spend over 50 hours every week caring for them, leaving little time for socialising and schoolwork.

Commenting on the data, Gerry Lejeune, Berkshire Community Foundation's CEO, said: “This makes our campaign even more vital - so we can raise more funds to ensure more help is available."

Berkshire Community Foundation plans to use the money raised to provide support to vulnerable people, access to services and social activities.

The campaign is supported by antiques expert and television presenter Jonty Hearnden. He said: “Loneliness is something that is seldom discussed, yet a great number of adults and children are struggling with feeling isolated every single day. It’s a really complex issue and takes its toll on the body and mind.”

Friends of Young Carers is one of the groups funded by the community foundation. Thanks to a grant provided by the organisation, young carer Charlie, 12, could take a break from looking after her ill parent through a trip to the beach arranged for her and others in similar situations.

Charlie wrote to Berkshire Community Foundation after the trip: “I am really happy that you paid for all of us to go to the beach. I haven’t been to the beach in years. It was nice to feel the sand between my toes. I am just really happy this has happened. Thank you very much, I appreciate it a lot.”

Another grant was awarded to Hurst Bowling Club to support its Thursday Project, which aims to enable people to talk about their past and enjoy companionship.

To support ‘A Life Less Lonely’, people can donate online, hold their own fundraising events or visit the campaign webpage for more information.

It will also be possible to meet members of Berkshire Community Foundation at Welford Park on 14 February.

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