Could you befriend an older Islander?

Age UK Isle of Wight is launching its annual Christmas Appeal to help the Island’s lonely – ‘No one should have no one’.

A spokesman said: “Did you know that in the UK 1 million older people say they feel lonelier than ever at Christmas time? Loneliness is a growing problem for older people on our Island. 1 in 6 older Islanders, aged 65 and over, live alone.

“Feeling lonely doesn’t necessarily mean you have no one nearby. You may be surrounded by friends and family but still feel lonely. Loneliness is unique to every individual. It can have different causes and consequences for each of us. If you are lonely, Age UK Isle of Wight is here.

“The effect of loneliness and isolation can be as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It is associated with depression, sleep problems, hypertension, impaired cognitive health, heightened vascular resistance, psychological stress and mental health problems.

“If you are lonely, it is important to take steps to try to make new connections. Take the first step by calling 525282 or visit

“Our appeal is supported by Megan Baker Estate Agents, with the aim of raising awareness about the charity’s befriending service as well as appealing for support of local volunteers to help to relive local loneliness.

“The charity offers vital companionship for older residents who are isolated. However we are struggling to meet the current demand and we are in desperate need for additional volunteers.”

Befriending can be done in person or from the comfort of your own home over the telephone, and can be as little as half-an-hour a week’s commitment. For those who aren’t able to donate their time, monetary donations are also welcome. All donations stay on the Island helping Age

UK IW to support older residents, not only at Christmas, but all year round.

Age UK IW have many ways you can help them to provide the crucial support for which the charity is so well known, some even without it costing you a penny. Find out how, by visiting