You do not have to face the coronavirus crisis alone - that is the message from the British Red Cross which has teamed up with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to launch the Tackling Loneliness Digitally programme.
The programme offers a range of digital support and advice to people in England who feel lonely and isolated, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the limits it has put on people’s ability to meet up with others.
It will be delivered by the Red Cross’s Generation Digital Volunteers, Connecting Communities and refugee services teams and will see those who need smartphones and data packages helped to gain access to them, while others will be supported as they venture online and learn how best to keep connected with family and friends.
People who want help will be able to call the British Red Cross coronavirus support line for a chat and, where they would like a little extra support or a boost in confidence, digital volunteers will be able to support them through their online journey.
Norman McKinley, British Red Cross executive director for UK operations, said: “You don’t have to do this alone. No one should be left feeling lonely and without anyone to turn to in this crisis. It’s more important than ever – as new coronavirus restrictions further limit everyday interactions – that we all reach out and try to stay in touch.
“Tackling Loneliness Digitally will help the people who our research shows are most likely to be feeling lonely and cut off from others to reconnect with friends and family. We’ll also be helping people access the tech and data that gets them online and back in touch with those they love.”
He said: “People can find out how to access help using our support line and our team of young digital volunteers are working hard to introduce people to the sort of technology that can help keep everyone connected. We have a number of free online tools and resources that anyone can use to reduce loneliness and improve their own wellbeing.”
Help is available from the British Red Cross coronavirus support line on 0808 1963651 and online loneliness resources are at www.redcross.org.uk/loneliness-resources.