Benyon bid to ‘kickstart’ conversation about loneliness and isolation

Newbury MP Richard Benyon has hosted a summit meeting to discuss the problem of loneliness and isolation in West Berkshire.

Speaking to a group of representatives from community organisations in the area, Benyon said: “Loneliness is as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and makes it more likely that you will suffer from dementia, heart disease and depression.”

“It affects so many people and does not discriminate by age, geography or status. I wanted to kickstart a conversation here in West Berkshire about how we can tackle this problem in our communities. There are some fantastic initiatives already going on and the aim was to get as many people as possible together to share information and build on this.”

The event was held as a result of the “shocking” statistics on the impact of loneliness and social isolation on health and well-being. Richard Benyon joined forces with the Volunteer Centre (VCWB) and Connecting Communities in Berkshire (CCB) to host the conference on how to tackle this issue at Fair Close on Friday 8th February.

Stephen West

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