Tackling loneliness and social isolation

Co-op and British Red Cross


Loneliness and social isolation affect over 9 million people of all ages across the UK, and can be as harmful as smoking and obesity(1). Yet in 2015, loneliness was the least popular CSR issue among UK businesses(2), and mainly associated with old age(3).

British Red Cross' (BRC) staff and volunteers identified worrying levels of loneliness and isolation in people using its UK-wide health and social care services(5), while 1 in 3 Co-op customers and members reported knowing someone who is lonely in their community(4). United by this insight, in 2015 we partnered to challenge common perceptions, expose and tackle the widespread impacts of loneliness.

During our partnership, we surpassed all expectations:
•Raising £6.7m, against £3.5m target;
•Engaging 100% of Co-op stores in fundraising for the first time;
•Producing ground-breaking 'Trapped in a Bubble' research identifying 9 million people of all ages are always/often lonely;
•Introducing new services in 39 communities, directly supporting 7,029 people with highest levels of need;
•Leading a new national conversation on loneliness as founder-members of high-profile Jo Cox Commission, resulting in the appointment of the UK's first Minister for Loneliness;
•Inspiring over 430 people to volunteer to tackle loneliness;
•Securing 700+ pieces of press/broadcast coverage.

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