It all started with a phone call.
At the beginning of 2016 we were contacted by the late Jo Cox MP who wanted to reach out to us about loneliness and the work that she was planning.
Jo had heard about our campaign with the British Red Cross to tackle loneliness. She explained with her usual passion and conviction about the National Commission she was planning to set up and asked if we would consider being the first business to become involved. We agreed without hesitation. Many months of hard work followed with Jo along with other charities and partners.
Her vision was to use the Commission to highlight the issue of loneliness in society; to raise awareness that loneliness can affect anyone and to encourage people to get involved in helping to tackle loneliness. The first steps were underway in planning and developing the Commission before Jo was tragically murdered on the streets of her constituency of Batley and Spen last June.
But today, the Jo Cox National Commission on Loneliness is launched and Jo’s legacy lives
on just six months after her untimely death. Jo’s sister, Kim Leadbeater, said “we want to continue that legacy by ridding society of loneliness one conversation at a time.” The call to action is to start a conversation – whether it be talking to a neighbour, visiting an old friend, or just taking time for the people you meet.
At the end of last year, the Red Cross, in partnership with Co-op, found that over nine million people – a fifth of the population – report they feel always or often alone. Our members, customers and colleagues have raised an incredible £4 million to date to tackle loneliness through our Charity Partnership. The money raised is being used to set up new British Red Cross services in 39 locations across the UK; from Brae in Shetland to Camborne in Cornwall, to help up to 12,500 people re-connect back to their communities. The British Red Cross are currently looking for volunteers to support these services and since December, almost 100 Co-op members have signed up to volunteer.
We are proud to be supporting the Jo Cox Commission. We will also be calling on other businesses, community groups, colleagues, members and customers to join us and make a difference.
President National Members Council