Darren Henry Column: Please assure your neighbours and loved ones they’re not alone

Everybody at some time in their life has felt lonely. These are words I said during my first speech in Parliament on loneliness.

By Darren Henry
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 5:00 pm

I have made others since, but these are the words I have come to reiterate most often on the topic.

They are important as they show just how understandable and relatable this issue really is and yet not enough is done to tackle it.

During the last few years, loneliness has become more prevalent in our society and we have seen the true scale of this issue in the UK.

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Darren Henry, Conservative MP for Broxtowe.

People often think loneliness is something that affects mainly our elderly friends and neighbours, but I have learned this is not the case.

At the beginning of lockdown, I met with young students within Nottinghamshire and found the issue of loneliness to be just as devastating for our young people.

After witnessing the true scale of this problem, I joined the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Loneliness in 2020 and have gone on to become vice-chair.

Through interacting with this group, I have met some fantastic loneliness-based charities in the UK. One such charity, called WaveLength, believes that technology is key in the fight against loneliness and provides the following: laptops, tablets and other such devices to those in need of the digital connection.

“I would encourage all of my constituents to check in on their neighbours and loved ones and ensure they know that they are not alone”, writes Darren Henry.

I am very glad to say some of our incredible local groups such as the Broxtowe Women’s Project and a local community centre in Beeston have received free devices from WaveLength.

Over lockdown, the Amigos Group was set up by a local couple in Cossall.

They started the group to combat loneliness in older residents and I was honoured to choose them as the winners of the Cossall Parish Council Good Neighbour Award recently.

It is my belief that there is no one way to tackle this endemic.

We must have support in our schools, hospitals, universities, care homes and in all aspects of society if we want to begin to tackle this problem.

I will continue to make representations in Parliament on this topic.

I would also encourage all of my constituents to check in on their neighbours and loved ones and ensure they know that they are not alone.

If anyone reading this needs more support immediately then organisations such as Samaritans, Mind, British Red Cross and the NHS programme known as ‘Every Mind Matters’ all offer support.

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