accessibility & help

Loneliness and isolation

A man sits alone looking at a book or photo album

The British Red Cross supports thousands of people each year who are vulnerable and isolated. Every day our staff and volunteers see first-hand the damaging effects loneliness and social isolation have on people, many of whom are already in crisis.

On the surface, it can be hard to tell who is feeling lonely or isolated. This hidden issue is problematic because it affects people’s health and wellbeing. It is hurting our public services, too.

Yet there is hope. A new study, commissioned by the British Red Cross in partnership with Co-op, means we know more about the problem than ever before – and how to help.

We know...

  • Over nine million people in the UK (almost one fifth of the population) report they are always or often lonely.
  • Loneliness does not just affect older people. Many other groups in society, from young mums to those with health or mobility issues, experience feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
  • Life transitions can be key triggers for loneliness, from retirement to divorce or separation.
  • Without the right support at the right time, loneliness can transition from a temporary situation to a chronic issue and can contribute to poor health and pressure on public services.  

We're recruiting - can you help?

As a result of this study, we’re recruiting volunteers to run new services. Over the next two years these services will provide direct, personalised support for up to 12,500 more people experiencing loneliness or social isolation.

The Red Cross is also part of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness. MPs, policy makers and 13 leading organisation have come together to expose the growing crisis of loneliness and find ways to overcome it.

What we know

A man talks to a woman who was sat looking out of a window.

Read more about our research into loneliness and isolation.

Read more >

Volunteer to help

A support at home volunteer laughs with service user

Could you help people who are lonely or isolated?

become a volunteer >

Help for those who feel alone

A woman in a coat and scarf looking down at the floor

Find out how we plan to help more people.

fiind out more >

"You can't dwell on the past"

David Crane managed to beat his loneliness with help from the Red Cross.

One man’s story on beating loneliness.

Read more >


Partnering with Co-op

Find out more about our
partnership to tackle loneliness and isolation.

Find out more >


Ellis Sheldon and Red Cross worker Sue Whalley

Give today to help us tackle loneliness in communities.

Donate now >