Why ditching mobiles and iPads for a face-to-face chat could help beat loneliness in Suffolk

Age UK Suffolk has launched its Big Chinwag campaign for 2019 to combat loneliness. Pictured is Ipsw

Age UK Suffolk has launched its Big Chinwag campaign for 2019 to combat loneliness. Pictured is Ipswich School of Dances event from last year Picture: AGE UK SUFFOLK - Credit: AGE UK SUFFOLK

In an age of email and social media, it can be easy to neglect the art of good, old-fashioned conversation.

But now campaigners are urging people to put their iPads and Androids to one side for a face-to-face “chinwag” to help support those who might be lonely.

Research shows loneliness to be a growing problem in Suffolk, with a study by the Red Cross highlighting how more than half of people in the county fear no-one would notice if something happened to them.

It is increasingly being seen as a growing health problem, as loneliness can have potentially devastating knock-on effects to a person’s mental and physical health.

And even though it is a nationwide problem, it is seen as particular problem in Suffolk – because the county’s rural nature can make people even more feel more isolated than in towns and cities.

So Age UK Suffolk, which campaigns for older people in the county, is to organise its “Big Chinwag” for the fourth year running to help tackle the issue.

Similar to Macmillan’s famous Coffee Morning, Suffolk residents are urged to hold events in their homes, schools or places of work during June where people can simply sit down and talk.

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Although the aim is to help foster face-to-face conversation to help alleviate any feelings of loneliness, the campaign is being promoted under the social media banner #nooneshouldhavenoone

And it is also hoped the campaign will raise funds for Age UK Suffolk’s work, so it can continue the fight against loneliness in future.

Jo Reeder, head of fundraising and marketing for Age UK Suffolk, said: “We live in an ageing population, and coupled with the rurality of the county, the issues that older people face as part of their daily lives, are going to increase.

“By raising awareness now, we can all invest in our future and ensure that #nooneshouldhavenoone.

“The benefits of conversation are huge – how else do we share stories, experiences and knowledge, and even better if we do this while eating cake?

“We’d love to see ‘chinwags’ popping up all over the county in June to help us to safeguard the vital services and support that we provide for people who may not know where else to turn.”

To hold and event, call Age UK Suffolk on 01473 298683 or email fundraising@ageuksuffolk.org for a fundraising pack.

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