A regional daily is seeking to emulate an award-winning campaign aimed at combatting loneliness among readers.
The Ipswich-based East Anglian Daily Times’s Shine a Light on Loneliness campaign aims to highlight the challenges many people on its patch face in later life.
Last year The Yorkshire Post was awarded best newspaper campaign at the Regional Press Awards for its crusade ‘Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic’ after a public vote.
Now EADT editor Terry Hunt hopes the Archant Suffolk title’s campaign will help readers dealing with similar issues highlighted by the Post.
Launching the campaign, he said: “The time for action is now. We urge everyone to think about what it’s like to be older – to imagine our own lives if we lost some of the things we take for granted – and consider what we can do to help those who need a friend.
“Even simple things can do so much good: saying ‘good morning’ to people we pass in the street, for instance, and checking that elderly neighbours are all right.
“Throughout 2015 – we will look at life through the eyes of both older folk and the volunteers who get a big kick from putting a smile on someone’s face. If the campaign makes just one person’s life a bit brighter, it will have succeeded. But we expect it to achieve far more.
“Together, we can make Suffolk a much less lonely county. It’s time to help older people across the county love later life, rather than simply endure it.”
Research by findings collected by Age UK Suffolk reveals that 17pc of older people don’t speak to friends, family or neighbours in over a week, and that 40-50pc of those aged over 80 say they are lonely.
Sharron Cozens, its acting chief executive, said: “We hope this campaign lets older people know that Suffolk cares about them and that help is available to those experiencing loneliness.
“A newspaper, parish magazine or local radio station can provide an important form of connection, company and reassurance to people who may not have regular visitors.
“The East Anglian Daily Times helps to keep people in touch with their community, news stories and events, which is why we are so pleased to have its support to Shine a Light on Loneliness in 2015.”