Charity rugby campaign backed by Dan Cole, England and Leicester Tigers
People across Great Britain with older parents have spoken out about their fears for their lonely Dads after new research revealed that 63 per cent believe their Dad is lonely even though 30 per cent say they don’t think their Dad would admit to it.
Half (50 per cent) of people with an older Dad (over 75) who lives alone said that they don’t think their Dad enjoys his hobbies as much as he used to. The reasons for older men letting go of their hobbies include a lack of motivation (35 per cent), having no one to enjoy them with (19 per cent) and 10 per cent said a lack of transport was a reason for letting hobbies go.
The research is released to coincide with the launch of Royal Voluntary Service’s ‘Let’s Tackle Loneliness’ campaign which aims to recruit more male volunteers. The initiative will help the charity to rekindle dwindling social lives of older men who live alone. A host of high profile rugby clubs have pledged support and the charity is calling on more to come forward now to help raise awareness of the issue and encourage their supporters to become volunteers.
‘Let’s Tackle Loneliness’ clubs including Cardiff Blues, Leicester Tigers, Castleford Tigers and Harlequins, and rugby legends including Dan Cole and JPR Williams, are pledging their support by joining the charity’s virtual Silver Squad (#tackleloneliness), calling on men across Great Britain to share their skills and hobbies and a small amount of time to help local older men stay connected.
David McCullough, Chief Executive at Royal Voluntary Service, said: “Supporting your local or national sports team gives a feeling of belonging and comradery for many men and women. Our research shows that on average men spend 3.3 hours a week chatting about sport with their friends and family. So it also provides an excellent common ground to grow new friendships.
“Through the Let’s Tackle Loneliness campaign we want to minimise the barriers to continuing with hobbies and interests. Our volunteers can provide companionship, give a lift where it is needed or buddy-up go to the local rugby game.”
Dan Cole, England and Leicester Tigers prop is supporting the Let’s Tackle Loneliness campaign: “It’s hard to imagine what life will be like when we are older when we are in peak physical fitness but it is important to realise that everyone has something to offer. We all have different skills and interests, whether that’s supporting your local or national team, playing golf, popping to the pub for a pint or going for a drive those skills and hobbies can easily be shared with someone local to you. As part of the Let’s Tackle Loneliness campaign I encourage you to register to volunteer for as little as an hour a week to share your skills and interests with an older man who may be suffering from loneliness in silence.”
Launched in 1938 as the Women’s Voluntary Services, the charity’s founder, Lady Reading, attracted over one million female volunteers to lend their support on the home front during the war. Now called Royal Voluntary Service, the charity supports older people and wants more men to volunteer. The charity currently has an army of over 35,000 volunteers but less than a fifth of its cohort are men.
Royal Voluntary Service helps over 100,000 older people with services such as Good Neighbours (companionship), Meals-on-Wheels and Books-on-Wheels that help alleviate loneliness. Royal Voluntary Service also provides practical support for older people who have been in hospital through its On Ward Befriending and Home from Hospital services.
To volunteer or find out more about Royal Voluntary Service or to sign up as a volunteer call 0845 608 0122 or visit www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.