British Red Cross & Co-op

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 businesses2, 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 initial two-year 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 research identifying 9 million people always/often lonely;
•Introducing new services in 39 communities, supporting thousands with highest levels of need;
•Inspiring hundreds to volunteer to tackle loneliness;
•Securing 700+ pieces of press/broadcast coverage;
•5% reduction in people feeling uncomfortable discussing loneliness(4);
•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.

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