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“IT’S RE­ALLY IM­POR­TANT THAT WE NOR­MALISE THE LAN­GUAGE OF LONE­LI­NESS”

In the Moment - - Good News -

Amy Per­rin, 39, is an oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist and founder of the Mar­malade Trust. The Bris­tol-based char­ity is ded­i­cated to rais­ing aware­ness of lone­li­ness in older and more vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of so­ci­ety, and help­ing them to make new con­nec­tions.

Amy was com­pelled to start the trust af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing lone­li­ness her­self. “Lone­li­ness can af­fect any­body at any time in their life,” she says. “There’s a real stigma around it and it’s re­ally im­por­tant that we nor­malise the lan­guage of lone­li­ness; to help peo­ple un­der­stand that it re­ally is just not hav­ing a level of so­cial con­nec­tion.

“As a health pro­fes­sional, I re­alised how many peo­ple were ex­pe­ri­enc­ing lone­li­ness and the ef­fect it can have on our well­be­ing. There was a real need to do some­thing.”

The Mar­malade Trust launched in 2013 with its rst Christ­mas lunch, which has now grown into a thriv­ing an­nual event, and last year Amy launched the rst Lone­li­ness Aware­ness Week in Bris­tol. Peo­ple from across the city came to­gether to put on events from lm pre­mieres and fox­trot dance mobs to in­spir­ing talks, and the event re­ceived na­tional at­ten­tion.

This year’s LAW prom­ises to be even big­ger. “We’re go­ing to link in with lots of com­mu­nity char­i­ties and or­gan­i­sa­tions and get peo­ple not only across the re­gion but also across the coun­try to take part,” says Amy.

Lone­li­ness is now on the po­lit­i­cal agenda too, through the ap­point­ment of lone­li­ness Min­is­ter Tracey Crouch last year. “I hope it will start to make some real pos­i­tive changes in our so­ci­ety,” says Amy. Lone­li­ness Aware­ness Week runs from 18-24 June. Visit www.mar­malade­trust.org for more info.

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