'˜Lasting legacy' of action to help the country's nine million lonely people

A 'LASTING legacy of action' will be created honouring the work of murdered Yorkshire MP Jo Cox to tackle loneliness.

Jo Cox's sister Kim Leadbeater with MPs Rachel Reeves, right, and Seema Kennedy, launch the long-awaited final report of the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission at a special event in Batley last Friday. Picture Tony Johnson.

The British Red Cross and the Co-op will create a new national action group dedicated to realising the late Batley MP’s vision of a less lonely society.

The Loneliness Action Group will build on the work over the past 12 months of the Jo Cox Commission, which on Friday released its final report, which among other recommendations, called for a dedicated Government Minister for loneliness.

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It will be chaired by Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, following her work as co-chair of the Jo Cox Commission. MPs and Peers from all parties have been invited to join the group.

The group will create a platform for a wide range of partners, many of whom were members of the Commission, to continue their work, deepening knowledge and sharing best practice in order to maximise their impact on the more than 9m UK adults who are either always or often lonely. Since launching a joint campaign to tackle loneliness, the Co-op and British Red Cross have raised more than £6m and introduced a network of Connecting Communities schemes across the country.

Ms Reeves: “Jo’s vision was for the Commission to achieve concrete change. But too often, we see recommendations and calls for change that are left to sit on a shelf. That’s why Seema Kennedy and I are so pleased to see firm plans in place to continue the Commission’s work and ensure a lasting legacy of action”.

British Red Cross chief executive Mike Adamson said: “The Jo Cox Commission has demonstrated the power of people coming together to respond to an issue that is leaving many lives in crisis. Our staff and volunteers witness this every day, supporting thousands of people in communities across the UK. Our new Loneliness Action Group will ensure the Commission’s calls for change are answered and provide a platform to continue this important work.”

Chief executive at the Co-op, Steve Murrells, said: “The Group will hold the Government to account to ensure the demands in the Commission’s final report, such as a UK-wide strategy for loneliness across all ages overseen by a nominated lead Minister, become a reality.”