Coca-Cola partners with Age NI to help battle loneliness this Christmas

  • Coca-Cola has teamed up with AGE NI to help battle loneliness by encouraging young people to connect safely with an older person
  • Coca-Cola will donate £10,000 to AGE NI as part of their Christmas fundraising and awareness campaign, Now more than ever, no one should have no one.

 Although Christmas in 2020 will be a little different, Coca-Cola is here to remind people that the connections we make during the festive season are more important than ever before. As we head into the festive season, many older people will miss the social side of Christmas and have fewer opportunities to connect with others. It is safe to say young people have been affected in similar ways – many cut off from friends with less opportunities for social interactions, while losing the independence they once had. The past year has been tough; however, it has allowed many people to readjust their priorities and understand the importance of being present and connected with one another.

Coca-Cola has partnered with AGE NI to help battle loneliness by encouraging young people around the country to connect safely with an older person by giving the gift of themselves. Whether it’s your great aunt who you haven’t seen since the last family occasion, a neighbour you know who is living alone or someone in the community you see from a distance in the local shop – make an effort to reach out and connect with them safely this Christmas and have a mutually beneficial experience. Did you know just 10 minutes of social interaction boosts brain function? A letter, a call, a quick Facetime, or a simple chat from the front garden fence can help lift the spirits of an older person to feel connected to their community. To the loneliest among us, just a small pocket of your time is the most priceless gift you can give.

Coca-Cola has always been part of what makes Christmas magical. This year, you can add your own sprinkle of magic to someone’s life in no time at all. Coca-Cola and Age NI are calling on young people across the country to connect with an older person in a safe way by: lending a hand; showing you care; passing on the Age NI’s Freephone Advice Number 0808 808 7575;  or donating to ageni.org to help them provide support to more older people. 

Rebecca McKinneyCoca-Cola and ALONE Ambassador said: I am delighted to be working with Coca-Cola and Age NI to help encourage young people to give the gift of themselves this Christmas. It is important we work together to help battle loneliness within our community. I’ve already started my own journey by writing letters to those I know need to feel connected. Using a small piece of your time to connect with an older person can really make a difference”.

Karen O’Shea, Marketing Manager at Coca-Cola Ireland said: “Christmas this year may look a little different, but giving the gift of yourself could have a huge impact on those who need it most. We are delighted to be able to donate £10,000 to Age NI in an effort to help battle loneliness this Christmas. We’re asking as many people as possible to give the gift of themselves to an older person, while also supporting Age NI’s services. Let’s make a difference together.

Linda Robinson, Chief Executive of Age NI thanked Coca Cola for their generous donation.  Since lockdown, Age NI has reshaped its services to place a much greater emphasis on keeping older people connected when they can’t meet face to face.  We launched Check in and Chat which involves a weekly friendship call from our trained volunteers.  Coca-Cola’s donation will help us to provide more calls to isolated and vulnerable older people this winter.  It may seem like the simplest thing, but the feelgood and the lift from a friendly chat is immeasurable.  As a community, we can all work a little magic just by keeping older family, friends and neighbours in mind and taking the initiative to regularly stay in touch.”

Dr Sabina Brennan – Author 100 Days to a Younger Brain said: “Now more than ever we need to ensure that we stay socially connected. Human connection is inextricably linked to our physical mental and brain health. Loneliness is not just an unpleasant experience; it is quite literally a killer. Social interaction is a partnership that benefits everyone involved so both young and old will reap the physical, mental and brain health rewards of social support. Younger adults who connect socially with older adults tend to hold more positive attitudes towards older adults and ageing and so may well help to tackle ageism. Long periods of isolation can lead to social withdrawal and all the negative health implications associated with that. Please do make the effort to reach out and connect with an older person. It is great that Coca-Cola and Age NI are helping the larger societal issue of loneliness this Christmas. You will benefit too, just 10 minutes social interaction boosts brain function.”

 

87-year-old retired Medical Biologist and Age NI client Derek spoke about the importance of the work that Age NI does, he said; “I could go two or three days without seeing anyone, you wake up in the morning and there’s just silence. You have to force yourself to get up in the mornings, this is where the lockdown has hit badly. It’s not just me, it’s everybody. I would be lost without the regular check ins from Age NI and it has inspired me to volunteer myself  as I now know first-hand  what we as individuals and as a community can do to  help older people stay connected, especially during the pandemic. It is great that Coca-Cola and Age NI are bringing awareness to this issue and I hope it will lead to many not feeling as lonely in the lead up to Christmas.

As part of Coca-Cola’s support for Age NI, two young influential faces will be helping by encouraging their followers to give the gift of themselves and connect with an older person who needs it the most this Christmas. Cool FM DJ Rebecca McKinney and Travel Blogger Fran McKee , will be documenting their own journey of connecting with an older person during the month of December. Follow their Instagram pages throughout the month of December to see the undeniable benefits of that all-important connection!

Love Belfast
Belfast guide to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, concerts, events, hotels, entertainment, special offers, news, gossip, travel, festivals and culture. http://lovebelfast.co.uk

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