Loneliness campaign

We're tackling loneliness.

In 2015 we asked our members to tell us the big issues facing their communities. Overwhelmingly, they voted for us to tackle loneliness with the support of the British Red Cross.

Co-op members and colleagues have raised a huge:

£6.7 million

to tackle loneliness in communities throughout the UK.

Co-op and British Red Cross - Tackling loneliness and isolation

Video length: 2 minutes 35 seconds

Show transcript


When you don’t have a purpose in your day to day existence, like a job provides;

So you know you’ve got to get out of the house most of the time, go somewhere and be with your colleagues. With kids you’re left to your own devices, you have to spend very long day on your own with them. It’s very very isolating.


The loss of my father is my biggest thing. I had quite a serious breakdown and I just went into a very very dark place. , I still have days where I overthink, analyse, call it what you like, I don’t know.


I have had depression since my teens and I think depression in its self is quite cyclical. I think that loneliness and depression are quite cyclical. loneliness taps into all the worst things I think about myself. If I think about being alone, and why I am alone, I think about all the things that could be wrong with me that are the reasons for why I am alone. 01:15

The sense of kind of quiet and you start to get into yourself a bit. Your self-esteem goes down because you’re not interacting with people.
I used to be right on the edge of being so excited about having a child. Acting like I’m about to cry all the time. And being with other women who were going through the same thing kind of took me down the happy route rather than the sad route. 01:41

I was at the doctors, saw a thing for Torbay Navigators and it said, “are you lonely, depressed, grieving…” that sort of thing. I said, I need to contact them.


For me, I am ashamed to tell people that I feel lonely. Because I do think that the person I’m talking to is going to think, “Well, WHY are you alone? What’s wrong with you?” That is the problem. Figuring out who you can talk to. It’s really important to be able to find that.

What we’re doing with the money

With the money raised, we are funding new British Red Cross services (rolled out in May and June 2017) in almost 40 locations across the UK.

These services, developed from the findings from our research, will help thousands of people reconnect with their local communities by providing up to 12 weeks' support to:

  • build confidence
  • address practical or psychological barriers
  • help people find activities and groups in their local community

Because we have smashed our original fundraising target of £3.5m, we will be working with the British Red Cross to look at ways we can support even more people who are experiencing loneliness to re-connect with their communities.

"What I loved so much was that they didn't say to me you've been doing this wrong, you've been doing that wrong, never judged me, they just listened... People who are lonely just want someone to talk to for a few weeks to maybe signpost them in the direction of clubs they can join, things they can do... It is invaluable, it is absolutely invaluable." Dave, beneficiary

What we're doing as a business

We’re changing the way our business operates to better recognise loneliness by:

  • supporting thousands of community groups through our new membership offer, helping to build strong community connections
  • relaunching our Employee Assistance Programme, allowing Co-op colleagues to confidentially seek support, including signposting to British Red Cross services
  • expanding and developing our social groups for the bereaved through our funeral business; providing people with ongoing care and social support
  • sponsoring Neighbourhood Watch to set up 30,000 new groups over four years to help strengthen and bring communities and neighbours together, including communications and support around loneliness

How you can help

You can volunteer to help people experiencing loneliness.

If you would like some support call British Red Cross on 0344 871 11 11 (Monday - Friday, 9am - 6pm, standard call charges apply)