There are 50,000 people over the age of 65 in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who may be at risk of loneliness. Many older people can go a month or more without talking to a friend, family member or neighbour.
Together we can help end loneliness. It doesn't take a big commitment, or a lot of time.
Small things you can do to help
Older people in Cambridgeshire have told us that a smile, wave, or hello from another person, can make all the difference. It only takes a few seconds to help someone feel less isolated.
- Start with a ‘hello’, a wave or even strike up a coversation.
- Send a Christmas card to the older people in your street. You could include an offer of help, should they need it.
- Reassure older neighbours by getting another neighbour to introduce you.
- If you call on a neighbour, make your first call short. Give them the opportunity to see who you are, that you are genuine and show interest in them.
- Have a 'mince pie moment'. Host a small, informal gathering on a Saturday or Sunday morning and invite your older neighbours to come along.
- Take 10 minutes each week to phone a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while.
- Write a letter to someone who has made a difference to your life.
- Encourage children to greet older neighbours.
Going days without human contact is a reality for a lot of older people. Can you imagine how it would feel to lose contact with the outside world for a week?
The video (above) shows how hard it can be to be alone for long periods.
Volunteering to reduce loneliness
Volunteering doesn't have to be a big commitment, to support those in your community who are lonely. Formal volunteering opportunities take from 30 minutes a month.
- Cambridgeshire Library at Home service uses a network of volunteers to take books out to people who are unable to visit a library, and needs more volunteers.
- Care Network Cambridgeshire would welcome volunteers for their help at home service, supporting people returning from hospital, and as community navigators.
- Contact the Elderly holds monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for over-75s and needs volunteer drivers and hosts.
- Friends of the Elderly needs volunteers to help with its day centres, telephone befriending groups and coffee mornings in sheltered housing schemes.
- Royal Voluntary Service wants volunteers who can help an older person with little tasks, such as doing their shopping and taking their dog for a walk, or delivering meals.
- The Silver Line needs people to help deliver this new helpline for older people.
- Age UK Cambridgeshire & Peterborough has lots of volunteering opportunities and is currently looking for volunteer visitors for the visiting scheme
- Do-it volunteer for people and causes that matter to you.
Details of local volunteer centres
Help if you are lonely
In Cambridgeshire (but not Peterborough), contact:
In Peterborough, contact:
Peterborough Council for Voluntary Service
Tel: 01733 342683
Good Mood Cafes take place across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. They are two-hour informal ‘get togethers’ designed to connect individuals to other like-minded people within their communities; offer wellbeing support and share interests and skills.
Visit our webpage on how you can beat loneliness.