COULD you spend 24 hours alone, with no contact with the outside world through TV or social media? A new challenge, the Loneliness Lock-In, was launched this week to encourage people to switch off devices and stay inside to understand what it is like to be lonely.
The Christian charity Linking Lives UK has launched the challenge to encourage people to step into the shoes of millions of others who are lonely and isolated. The charity works with churches and other Christian organisations across the country to set up befriending groups to break down the isolation felt by many of those who are living on their own, particularly elderly people.
A survey by Age UK found that half-a-million people in higher-age brackets went five or six days a week without seeing anyone at all, and 3.9 million people said that the television was their main company. Nine million people of all ages admitted to being always or often lonely.
The number of older people living alone has risen by nearly one quarter over the past 20 years.
The national director of Linking Lives, Jeremy Sharpe, said: “The challenge encourages people to make time and space to spend time alone, with no access to other people, telephones, gadgets or wifi. As part of the process, we expect that participants will acknowledge the experiences of those who live on their own and find it a daily challenge.”
Anyone who signs up to the challenge will be sent advice on new activities to try to stay occupied. To take part, participants need to be 18, and those with conditions that affect their health and well-being will be advised not to take part.
Participants can register to take part at linkinglives.uk/loneliness-lock-in/.