We often take for granted the company of our family and friends. For many of us it is a normal part of life to have someone nearby to talk to about all things big and small. But imagine that this was taken away. Imagine for a moment that you had no-one there to discuss even the small things with. Imagine that your only company were the television and yourself.
For many people this is not imaginary place, this is their reality. It is estimated that between 5% and 18% of people in the United Kingdom feel lonely. This has been attributed to a number of early deaths which is comparable to smoking and obesity. No one should have to feel this way and it is an issue which can be fixed.
Therefore, this week the Government’s strategy to tackle loneliness will be set out. The strategy sets out a vision on how we can all play a role in building a more socially connected society.
It is my firm belief that we can tackle this problem in Southend head on as a community. We can do this through small gestures like saying hello to your neighbour when you see them, visiting elderly relatives or friends in your neighbourhood or by joining the various befriending schemes available through Age Concern or Southend Volunteering Service (SAVS) . It is these small things that do not take much time or effort that make the biggest difference.
If you are feeling lonely try to take the small steps first, attend a local community meeting, walk down to the park to watch a game of football, or evening say good morning to your neighbour. No one is suggesting that any of these will fix loneliness overnight but if as a community we do our bit perhaps we can stop anyone in the area from feeling lonely.
In the meantime, should you or anyone close to you have any questions or concerns that I may be of assistance with as your local Member of Parliament please do not hesitate to contact me either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling my office of 01702 616135.