Every Londoner has felt lonely at some point. Despite busy streets, packed tube carriages and the virtually impossible task of getting a table at Bao, London can often leave you feeling isolated and distant from those around you.
A cross-party commission launching tomorrow (January 31) hopes to tackle loneliness, which it describes as a 'silent epidemic' lying inside every community in Britain.
Jo Cox, the former MP for Batley and Spen, West Yorkshire, had taken the first steps toward setting up the commission before she was murdered last June, and campaigners and politicians have named it the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness in her honour.
One of the first actions by the commission will be to tackle loneliness in London by handing out 'happy to chat' badges at major stations tomorrow morning, between 7.30am and 9am at Victoria, Waterloo, King's Cross and Westminster stations.
Under the slogan ‘Start A Conversation’, the commission hopes to educate people on how they can fight loneliness and connect with one another. The initiative has support across political parties and is supported by 13 organisations, including Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society and Refugee Action.
Research by the supporting organisations show that more than nine million people – a fifth of the population – privately admit they are 'always or often alone', but two-thirds of those would never confess to having a problem in public.
Rachel Reeves and Seema Kennedy, co-chairs of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, said in a statement: 'Now is the time to break that silence by starting a conversation. We need a national conversation about the scale and impact of the problem. But just as importantly, every single one of us can start a conversation with somebody that will help break the cycle of silent suffering and unintentional neglect.'
Pick up a 'Happy to Chat' badge at Victoria, Waterloo, King's Cross and Westminster stations between 7.30am and 9am on January 31.