Friday, 23 December 2016 06:41


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SNP MP Marion Fellows has urged the public to get behind Age Scotland’s #EndLoneliness campaign as 50,000 older people in Scotland are set to spend Christmas alone.

The 67 year old MP for Motherwell and Wishaw is urging Scottish people to donate their time to befriending efforts over the festive season as “no one should have to spend Christmas alone – especially not our older neighbours, friends and relatives.”
Age Scotland research shows that 100,000 older Scots say they feel lonely most or all of the time, and 65,000 say they feel particularly lonely at Christmas. While loneliness impacts people of all ages, many older people have lost friends and relatives, and cold weather in winter months can also prevent some older people from getting out to socialise.
Marion Fellows MP took part in a home visit and photo opportunity, with an elderly housebound woman and local organisation Befriend Motherwell, this week, to promote the Age Scotland campaign and the free helpline for older people.
Commenting Marion Fellows MP said:
“No one should have to spend Christmas alone – especially not our older neighbours, friends and relatives.
“Loneliness is a big problem that affects many but it particularly impacts on older people – with as many as 50,000 set to spend Christmas alone, and many more feeling lonely and isolated this winter.
“That’s why I’m backing the Age Scotland #Endloneliness campaign, and urging people to donate their time to befriending efforts over the festive period and beyond.
“I hope that everyone will have a think about the older people in their local community and commit to checking in on them, or even volunteering with Age Scotland or a local older people’s group.
“Doing your bit could be as simple as a having a quick cup of tea with an elderly neighbour, helping them with their weekly shop, or helping clear the ice from their path - but it really could make all the difference.
“I also encourage people to pass on the Age Scotland helpline number to older people in need of support (0800 12 44 222), and thank the workers & volunteers that make it possible for Age Scotland to provide this vital service.”
Brian Sloan, Age Scotland Chief Executive, said:
“It is often life events such as bereavement, ill health and complex long term health conditions such as diabetes and arthritis – all more common in later life – that give rise to feelings of loneliness and which if left unaddressed can cause long-term misery.
“As part of our No one should have no one at Christmas campaign, we’re asking people to check on older neighbours and perhaps even see if they need a helping hand. Small gestures, like going round for a cuppa, or clearing paths of snow or ice and showing you are concerned, can provide comfort and aid to older people.
“Our national Freephone telephone helpline – 0800 12 44 222 – available for older people, their families and carers, offers friendship and contact as well as information and advice. We’d like to encourage people to get in touch, particularly over the winter months, and have a chat with our team of friendly advisers.
“Age Scotland has made tackling loneliness one of our strategic priorities. Following a ground-breaking parliamentary inquiry last year, we welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to create a national strategy to tackle social isolation, which could be the first worldwide. We now look forward to seeing this commitment realised in the months ahead.”
Alex Baird, Chairman of Trustees at Befriend Motherwell, said:
“Although loneliness affects so many people all year round, the Christmas period can be a time of particular concern.
“It is great to share festive time with family and friends but do spare a thought please for the lonely neighbour who may not be so fortunate. A kind word, maybe a small gift handed in, can make a lot of difference.
“Befriend Motherwell has, for over 5 years, been striving to tackle some of the effects of loneliness in our community and will continue to do so in the years ahead. We are so very fortunate to receive the great support we do from our local MP Marion Fellows who takes a particular and very supportive interest in our work.”
Age Scotland #EndLoneliness campaign:

Age Scotland Helpline is - 0800 12 44 222 - and it runs 9am - 5pm.