VRS applauds the work being done by the Marmalade Trust to promote Loneliness Awareness Week this week, which is intended to increase awareness and reduce the stigma of loneliness.
VRS agrees that there needs to be more recognition of loneliness within our society, and more support offered to those in need. A new YouGov poll shows that not wanting to burden others is the main reason people avoid reaching out to seek help when feeling isolated, with 75 per cent of people saying they didn’t tell anyone despite having someone they could count on. There are some wonderful charities supporting this vulnerable sector of the population though, and some fantastic new initiatives to encourage people to reach out to lonely residents in their area. West Coast Virgin Trains designated all coach C’s on their trains as “chat carriages for the day last Friday, and in the North East there is a #chatty bus scheme, with a team riding buses to combat loneliness.
Loneliness can affect anyone, at any stage of their life, and have a hugely negative impact on health and well-being. Sadly it can also mean people are more financially vulnerable, with loneliness increasing the risk of an individual being targeted by unscrupulous predators, including financial scammers.
For some people, their most significant form of social contact comes from communication with cold callers, and unfortunately scammers, and as a result a relationship can develop that is, both financially and emotionally, deeply detrimental to the individual. A register such as the one that the VRS can provide some protection for these vulnerable consumers, ensuring that credit providers are aware of their circumstances. We will continue to support organisations working with the loneliest in society, and welcome their work in this area.