This past year has been difficult for us all in different ways, but it has undoubtedly highlighted just how valuable and important social interaction is to our daily lives. Before the pandemic many of us may have even taken it for granted - the simple acts of catching up with a friend or visiting loved ones are things we’ve had to put on pause.
But what if the isolation we’ve all experienced over the last year wasn’t temporary and there was no end in sight of that lonely feeling? For 3 million people across the UK this is their reality.
Age UK research shows one in four people over the age of 65 feel they have no-one to turn to for help and support. It’s also something which could impact us all, with an estimated 1.5 million of us expected to experience loneliness at some point in our lives. At Sky, our business is built around keeping people connected and we have a responsibility to go beyond just doing that through our products and our services. We want to and need to do more to help.
Therefore, we’ve partnered with Age UK, the leading charity for older people to launch Time to Care, to help tackle loneliness across the country. This is part of our volunteering programme Sky Cares to allow colleagues to give back to the communities where we live and work.
Loneliness has been one of the key focus areas of Sky Cares initiative since launch, and I’m proud that Time to Care will allow us to use Age UK ‘s expertise to reach those who simply need someone to talk to.
Through Time to Care we’re aiming to have 1 million interactions with older people each year and to help reach this goal we’re giving our 15,000 Customer Service Group colleagues dedicated time each week to play their part. Our people across Sky have already played an important role in tackling loneliness over the last year with our home service engineers supporting 15 Age UKs local to our Sky offices with thousands of deliveries, and colleagues donating thousands more gifts, tablets and mobiles to help people stay connected.
Now we want to take our commitment even further so we’re introducing a new Sky befriending line to support our customers with weekly friendship calls. You can find out more about our new Sky befriending line here.
Loneliness is a growing social issue, but we believe we can use the passion and power of our people to help make real change and connections where they are needed to have lasting impact.
Chris Stylianou, Chief Operating Officer