The UK government has appointed a minister for loneliness, whilst outlining plans to develop a wider strategy on the issue. The appointment comes after recommendations made by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, with Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch set to head a government-wide group with responsibility for policies connected to loneliness. The government has also made commitments to gather more evidence and statistics on loneliness and provide funding for community groups to start activities which connect people.

Helping people connect

18% of over-55s cite loneliness as a top concern for their future.

Loneliness is on the rise in the UK, with Mintel’s research on marketing to the over-55s showing that 18% of British over-55s cite loneliness as a top concern for their future. And with research showing that loneliness plays a significant role in the decline associated with old age, a number of brands and organisations have embarked on creative campaigns that aim to tackle the problem.

The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, for instance, has already handed out badges with the words ‘Happy to chat’ on the London Underground, while the Girl Guides launched a new badge which are earned by visiting elderly people. We’ve also seen a primary school in Essex invite local elderly people to join an intergenerational activity centre, while the Swiss Federal Railways recently offered a free festive train trip to people spending Christmas alone.

The UK government now committing to its own plans indicates the weight of the issue and the new prominence being given to it. Brands have an opportunity to do their bit to facilitate communication between those at risk of being left isolated.

Mintel Trends is a resource that provides strategic, evidence-backed insights on how today’s consumers think, feel and act. It analyses changes in culture, society, brands and markets, so you can gain a deep understanding of what influences people every day.

Adam Steel is Mintel’s Trends Analyst for the European region, identifying changes in the patterns of consumer behaviour to detect new trends and publishing observations on Mintel’s Trends platform that cover innovations, creative marketing campaigns and product launches.