The World Cup brings together people of all ages, genders and backgrounds to celebrate the UK’s favourite sport. However, not everyone has a friend to watch the game with. In the UK there are 9 million lonely people and 4 million of those are older people.
That is why we have teamed up with Campaign to End Loneliness to encourage local communities to get together to tackle loneliness and are so pleased to have support from the Professional Footballers Association, former Chelsea star Paul Canoville and England footballer Rachel Yankey OBE.
People all over the UK are already using Nextdoor to tackle loneliness and isolation, by connecting with their neighbours, starting discussions and forming new friendships. With this in mind, we thought the World Cup was the perfect opportunity to get your community together and to reach out to those who may not have friends and family around them to watch games with. In 2014, 20 million people tuned into the World Cup final. This year, if even a small proportion could connect with just one lonely person, we could make a real difference.
So, as we prepare for England’s next match, we’ve put together some top tips to help you use World Cup fever to bring your neighbours together over the next month:
- Use Nextdoor to organise a World Cup viewing party in your community for the next England match. Simply post a message in your neighbourhood or even start an event. It could be in your garden, your local pub or a big screen in your area.
- Invite someone new to watch the game with you. It may be an older person in your community who lives alone or a new neighbour. Or, if you’re in the pub and see someone watching the game alone, invite them to join you
- Join the Campaign to End Loneliness’ ‘Be More Us’ movement and find out tips to connect during the World Cup
- Use #TackleLoneliness on social media to share stories and pictures of your community coming together to celebrate the World Cup
Paul Canoville, former Chelsea footballer and founder of the Paul Canoville Foundation, said: “I am delighted to support Nextdoor UK and the Campaign to End Loneliness with tackling loneliness with the World Cup. Loneliness in some cases can be a by-product of mental health issues. Sometimes those living next door to us go undetected. With World Cup Season upon us, let’s put an end to loneliness. Check up on that neighbour you haven’t seen in a while. Ask them if they want to watch a match. Make sure they’ve had a meal. More importantly – engage with them. Start today! A small act of kindness can break down the barrier of isolation. Show support and let them know that they are not alone and that there is someone in their area that cares.’
Gordon Taylor OBE, Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, said: “Football has the power to change the world, to unite people and create hope’, said Nelson Mandela and we believe this to be true. The World Cup and our participation gives the country the opportunity to share this with everyone and make sure nobody watches alone. Football is a team game; let’s make watching the World Cup a community event.”