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Newspaper urges readers to help lonely at Christmas

Age UK SunderlandA bid to get readers to help our lonely elderly people this Christmas has been launched by a regional daily.

The Sunderland Echo is running its No One Should Have No One campaign in conjunction with Age UK, with the aim of helping the charity tackle the scourge of social isolation.

The Echo is urging people to help Age UK, particularly by getting involved with its befriending service, which puts volunteers in contact with lonely older people.

The charity estimates in Sunderland there are 42,771 people aged 60 and over who could be classed as lonely or socially isolated. Of those, some 9,982 are over 80.

In the city, Age UK’s telephone companionship service has had contact with 309 people via 26 volunteers while its home-visiting service has had contact with 158 people via 48 volunteers.

Campaigns along a similar theme have been run by regional newspapers including the Yorkshire Post, East Anglian Dialy Times and Oxford Mail over recent months and years.

Johnston Press (North East) editorial director Joy Yates said: “As the message says, no one should have no one for Christmas.

“We hope as many Echo readers as possible will get behind the campaign.

“If they can spare a couple of hours a week to provide friendship to an elderly person on their own, it would make all the difference to that person and make their Christmas a happier time.

“We all like to give gifts at Christmas, but giving a little of our time to others who are alone is also a great thing to do.”