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Meet your neighbours to help tackle loneliness in our island communities

Meet your neighbours to help tackle loneliness in our island communities

20 December 2018

You may have read recently about Christopher Thompson, who took his own life after falling into financial difficulties in Jersey. This tragedy has sent shock waves through our small island community – not just to those who knew Christopher, but also to local businesses.

This and other recent reports in the JEP got us thinking about how we, as a community retailer, can in some small way try to make a difference to the communities we serve. Our large presence in the Channel Islands means that we represent a significant portion of the community, and we want to find innovative ways to help.

On reading about JEP’s #JerseyTogether campaign, we were reminded of an initiative that Chelmsford Star Co-op launched a few years ago to help their community overcome loneliness. They based the need for their Co-op Streets campaign on a study from Co-operatives UK. The study revealed that the UK is far less neighbourly than it was three decades ago:

Between 1982 and 2014 neighbours who:

  • ’Do shopping for me’ were down 82% to 6%
  • 'Look after my pets or plants’ were 51% to 23%
  • ’Keep a spare key for me’ were down 42% to 27%
  • ’Do gardening for me’ were down 38% to 6%

Your community team at the Channel Islands Co-operative have partnered with our contacts in the community such as Andium Homes, Jersey Post and the Parish Halls to launch our Meet Your Neighbour campaign.

Issues like loneliness, homelessness, poverty and unemployment can impact any one of us at any given time. That’s why we’d like to help our members, customers and their families feel a greater sense of belonging to the communities they live in.

We would like to help break down the barriers of silence between neighbours, and instead provide a way to get to know those who live around us, so that we can be there for each other in times of need.

We will be doing more work like this in our communities during 2019, starting with an intergenerational skill swapping event to be held in January. This event will help combat those darker days around ‘Blue Monday’ (21 January) which is claimed to be the unhappiest day of the year. Keep an eye out on the Community Blog to read about how we get on…

In the meantime, why not introduce yourself to your neighbours? To get involved, simply pick up a form from any of our stores (or download one), fill out your details and post it to your neighbours. They can then return the form to you with their details.

Forms can be found in all of our stores including food stores, GP surgeries, pharmacies, Travelmaker and De Gruchy’s Funeral Care.

> Find more info about the Meet Your Neighbour Campaign here