Jo Cox Commission co-chair backs Alan Mak's Older Persons Information Fair

The Co-Chair of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness has backed the Older Persons Information Fair, being organised by Havant MP Alan Mak on Friday 13 October.

Seema Kennedy MP, who worked in Parliament with Jo Cox to tackle loneliness before her murder, said the former MP would have been “inspired” to see events such as the Havant Older Persons Fair take place.

The Commission is currently looking into ways to tackle loneliness and how it impacts people’s long term health.

Research shows that more than 9 million people in the UK – almost a fifth of the population – say they are always or often lonely. In addition 1.7% or 200,000 older people (65 and over) have not had a conversation with friends or family for a month. Some 360,000, or 3.1%, had not had such a conversation in over a week.

Seema Kennedy MP said: "Jo Cox came into parliament in 2015 determined to do something about loneliness. Jo would be inspired to see her parliamentary colleagues continuing her legacy by organising events such as the Older Persons Fair in Havant. Our work with Gransnet revealed that over half of their users who said they were lonely had never talked about it. By coming together, we can show everyone that we are #happytochat and help tackle loneliness."

Backing the Commission’s campaign, Alan will be handing out #happytochat badges at his Older Persons Fair, which takes place from 10am to 2pm at the Hayling Island Community Centre. These encourage neighbours and complete strangers to share a conversation in the community to help tackle loneliness.

Alan said that one of the key aims of the fair is to help tackle loneliness, with a number of community groups, including Men’s Shed and Hayling Island Choir exhibiting.

He added: “One in three households locally is occupied by an older person, and I’m keen to ensure they have the opportunity to remain active and healthy instead of being isolated and lonely. That’s why I fully support the work of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness. At my Older Persons Fair I’m bringing together over 40 groups from the local area that showcase the many things on offer for senior citizens in the community. I encourage all residents to come along on the day to find out more.”

This year for the first time Alan’s Fair will also be offering free Dementia Friends sessions, run by Dementia Friendly Hayling. These are taking place at 11am and 1pm – no appointment is needed.

To find out more the fair and for a list of exhibitors please visit alanmak.org.uk/opif

Picture: Alan Mak MP with the co-chair of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness Seema Kennedy MP  wearing #HappyToChat badges