UK charity Age UK estimates that there are 1.2 million older people in Britain who are chronically lonely.
Now the UK Girl Guides has created a new badge that Guides will be able to earn by visiting aged care facilities, putting on plays and craft sessions and chatting to elderly residents.
The scheme, which was first trialled in Manchester, is now being rolled out to the whole city before being expanded nationally.
The project was the brainchild of the local Council’s Manchester Health and Care Commissioning (MHCC), working with two Guides groups. Its chief accountable officer Ian Williamson said there was a lot of evidence that linked loneliness to a lower immune system and sense of wellbeing.
“If youngsters know this, they can lead by example and raise awareness of an issue that we can all help to solve,” he said.
As a former Girl Guide, it sounds great to me – and much more useful than that Bird Watching badge I earned.
Photo credit: The Guardian