Co-op partnership

Working together to tackle loneliness across the UK.

Since October 2015, the Co-op and the British Red Cross have teamed up to raise awareness and launch services to tackle loneliness and social isolation in communities across the UK.

This innovative partnership has:

  • Helped a total of 8,960 people reconnect with their communities
  • Raised £6.7 million through a wide range of fundraising activities
  • Launched 39 Connecting Communities services across all 4 nations of the UK.

 

Co-Op and British Red Cross partnership logo

Partnership highlights

Connecting Communities

We have created and delivered bespoke Connecting Communities services, developed from our ground-breaking research, to offer support to individuals for up to 12 weeks who are experiencing or are at risk of loneliness.

Through tailored support, our staff and volunteers are on hand to help vulnerable people rediscover their interests and make new friends for a brighter, better connected future.

Find out more about our work on loneliness.

 

Raising awareness

The partnership has been campaigning to tackle loneliness and identify best practice methods to remain on the political agenda.

To date, major progress has been made in campaigning for political commitment to tackle loneliness through the appointment of a Loneliness Minister, Mims Davies MP to help with the implementation of the loneliness strategy.

The British Red Cross and the Co-op co-chair the Loneliness Actions Group, bringing together more than 40 organisations from the public, private and charitable sector to share learning on loneliness and ensure the issue remains on the public agenda.

The British Red Cross and Co-op partnership also supports the Loneliness All Party Parliamentary Group, a cross-party working group looking at developing policy on the issue.

Conducting research

As part of our work to ensure loneliness is effectively tackled, the British Red Cross and the Co-op partnership has produced several reports to help strengthen and improve the services we provide:

See more of our research on loneliness in partnership with Co-op.

 

Loneliness Minister Mims Davies speaks about loneliness at a British Red Cross and Co-op conference

Daniel's story

British Red Cross Community Connector Michael with Daniel, a service user of the Community Connector service.

Daniel was referred to Michael, our Blyth Community Connector, by his local adult social services.

He was experiencing high levels of anxiety, having been bullied at school and then at work. 

Consequently, he rarely left the house and was prone to violence. 

In exploring potential hobbies and interests that would help Daniel to reconnect, Michael arranged for Daniel to look after the owls at a local falconry centre.

After a successful introduction and a period of ongoing support, Daniel now volunteers at the centre for up to four days a week, travelling there independently on public transport. He has impressed the centre’s owner with his attitude and commitment to learning.  

Daniel’s mother, Janet, says:

“They got him into falconry. He picks up the birds now, he can tie them properly. He flies them. He’s just a totally different personality. Don’t get me wrong, he still has his days where he just cannot cope, but he lights up every time we say he’s going to go. It’s amazing. I can’t thank the British Red Cross enough for getting him into this”.