Jo Cox's charity helps launch scheme to tackle loneliness in the lockdown age

A new scheme to build connections and stave off loneliness and isolation in the age of social distancing has been launched with the help of the charity formed in memory of MP Jo Cox.

By Rob Parsons
Friday, 10th April 2020, 11:45 am

The Jo Cox Foundation has joined forces with charities, the Government and social media giant Facebook to launch the Connection Coalition dedicated to helping the nation form meaningful connections.

The aim of the group, which includes Age UK, Mind and the British Red Cross, is to "coordinate, amplify and inspire efforts" to connect with each other while social distancing measures remain in force.

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Women wear face masks with shopping in Bradford as people continue to observe social distancing rules during the Corona Virus pandemic. 9 April 2020. Picture Bruce Rollinson

According to its website: "In doing so, we will mitigate the impact of isolation on social and emotional wellbeing throughout the Covid-19 and harness the power of strong relationships and connection for the future."

Catherine Anderson, CEO of the Jo Cox Foundation, formed in memory of the murdered Batley & Spen MP, wrote in an online message: "As I write this, we are experiencing the most dramatic changes to our everyday lives, our communities, and our global society.

"Coronavirus is first and foremost a medical crisis, and rightly our government and institutions must tackle its spread.

"But as we exit the acute phase of this challenge, we will likely see a long-tail of cumulative impacts affecting the social and emotional wellbeing of our entire nation."

She added: "Looking ahead, we will be living in a very different kind of country, one in which physical distancing may become a factor – if not always a norm – for some time as we build immunity and try to find ways to reduce the clinical impact of a brand new disease.

"We can all play our part now in ensuring that, come what may, we will at least be able to fall back on the care and compassion of our own communities.

"And that is something that will stand us in good stead whatever the crises we face. For while government will strive to keep us safe, our communities must strive to keep us all going."

The Connection Coalition will bring organisations together to collaborate and share expertise, creativity, tools and ideas for ways to build connection.

Ms Anderson wrote: "By driving a campaign of hope via positive stories of connection, the coalition will exist to inspire people to build and maintain strong reciprocal social relationships."

For more details visit https://www.connectioncoalition.org.uk.