The Co-operative Group has achieved a milestone £4m in fundraising for its campaign to tackle loneliness. The funding will support new British Red Cross services to address loneliness in 39 locations across the UK.
Last year the Group, in collaboration with the British Red Cross, carried out research into what triggers loneliness and how to respond to it. The British Red Cross used the findings to develop new services, which are expected to benefit up to 12,500 people.
The 12-week support programme is designed to build confidence, address practical or psychological barriers and help people find activities and groups in their local community.
The research has also revealed that loneliness does not just affect young people and can be triggered by ordinary life events.
In addition to raising funds for the campaign, the Group is relaunching its employee assistance programme, allowing colleagues to confidentially seek support, including signposting to British Red Cross services.
The retailer is also expanding and developing its social groups for the bereaved through its funeral business.
The Group will sponsor 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.
It committed to tackling loneliness after asking its members what they believed was the biggest issue facing their communities.