The First Minister of Wales and Welsh Government cabinet have called on the people of Wales to back the fourth Great Winter Get Together campaign as it kicks off this week.
The campaign marks a month long, UK-wide celebration aimed at tackling loneliness and isolation, and at bringing communities and people together. The idea was inspired by the late Jo Cox, who believed passionately in reducing loneliness and isolation.
Taking forward Jo Cox’s vision of a “less lonely, more connected world”, the campaign offers simple ways to connect in the community, and through engaging virtual events.
The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, said:
Anyone can experience loneliness, but winter can be a particularly difficult time, and especially this year.
Connecting with friends and family through the pandemic has been difficult, but many people have found innovative ways to link up through online events, or by supporting others in their community.
From those who have stood on doorsteps to speak to neighbours who would otherwise have spent days and weeks alone; to community groups who have set up internet catch-ups for people whose families live far away; to support groups set up to help care workers; to groups of neighbours who have found valuable ways to work together, raising funds or making products to help the NHS: I want to thank each and every one of you for helping the most vulnerable people in your communities in so many different ways.
Through your ingenuity, you have connected with people who would otherwise have been isolated and alone. Thank you for everything you have done. Please continue to support your communities safely, in whatever way suits you best.
The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Julie Morgan, said:
Loneliness and Isolation are feelings that can touch us at any age and any stage of our life. This year sadly feelings of loneliness have increased, however it’s heartening to see the many ways people have adapted and supported their community and each other. I want to thank everyone who has made a difference.
This year I launched Wales’ first ever loneliness and social isolation strategy, called Connected Communities. The strategy is the first step in helping to change how people think about loneliness and social isolation.
Ruth Marks, CEO of Wales Council for Voluntary Action, said:
The festive season can be particularly difficult for those experiencing loneliness and isolation, and this year it will affect more people than ever. There are many voluntary organisations, volunteers and community groups working hard to tackle this issue.
The Great Winter Get Together is another brilliant example of the hard work and generosity of spirit that helps tackle loneliness by creating meaningful connections.