Theresa May, British Prime Minister, on Wednesday appointed Tracey Crouch as the country’s minister for loneliness.
Crouch is the current junior minister for sport and civil society.
May said: “I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones, people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with.”
“The role was the main recommendation in a 2017 report commissioned in memory of Jo Cox, a lawmaker and mother of two who was murdered in the street in 2016 by a neo-Nazi terrorist,’’ according to NBC News.
“Jo Cox recognised the scale of loneliness across the country and dedicated herself to doing all she could to help those affected,” May said.
The government said that research showed as many as one in ten people felt lonely “always or often” and that hundreds of thousands of elderly people hadn’t spoken to a friend or relative in the past month.
Crouch, whose official title is Minister for Sport and Civil Society, will devise a national strategy to tackle isolation across all ages, and find ways of measuring alienation in official statistics.
“We know that there is a real impact of social isolation and loneliness on people, on their physical and mental well-being but also on other aspects in society and we want to tackle this challenge,” Crouch said.
Meanwhile, Cox’s widower, Brendan Cox, tweeted early Wednesday: “One of the awful things about losing Jo knowing how much difference she would have made in the world. When the kids wake up this morning I’m going to tell them how — even though she’s not here — she’s still making the world a better place.”
However, there was some criticism of the appointment on social media, with users pointing out a link between loneliness and government cuts to community services such as public libraries, day care centers and community halls.