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Published March 21, 2023

Ipswich Town and the British Red Cross Club Together Against Loneliness

As part of the English Football League’s (EFL) official charity partnership with the British Red Cross, Ipswich Town Football Club is piloting a new ticketing scheme for members of the community in a bid to help those facing loneliness and isolation.

The pilot scheme will bring people together with other local fans to enjoy the nation’s favourite game to help reduce feelings of isolation that people may be experiencing and encourage new friendships and connections.

The ticketing initiative comes at a time when most people (86%) living in the East of England believe loneliness is a problem in England, according to new research by the British Red Cross.

The new findings released by the charity today show over 1 in 3 (35%) of people in the East of England are experiencing loneliness and almost two thirds (65%) feel it’s a bigger problem now than last year.

Over three quarters (76%) worry that the cost of living is pushing more people into loneliness forcing a third (33%) of people in the region to restrict how much they socialise this winter. At Christmas, nearly half of the people surveyed from the East of England (44%) cut back on socialising in pubs, restaurants and clubs due to financial concerns and 26% cut back on travelling to see family and friends.

Lisa Somerville, Mobility Aids Service Manager from the British Red Cross, an organisation that already supports over 100,000 people experiencing loneliness per year through its services across the country, said:

“Loneliness can have a huge impact on people’s health and wellbeing and is known to be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

“The incidence of loneliness skyrocketed during the pandemic, as a result of people being cut off from their family and friends. Now the increased cost of living is forcing many to cut back and sacrifice on socialising, making people more at risk of becoming lonely and isolated.

“We know health and mobility issues can lead to increased social isolation and this ticketing initiative will provide a vital lifeline for people who may be struggling and feel desperately alone.”

“We were delighted to welcome local residents to Portman Road on Saturday who may be currently struggling with social isolation and loneliness,” Dan Palfrey, Director of Foundation added. 

“Ipswich Town is committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of those living in our community. It was brilliant to also welcome staff and volunteers to our recent Senior Blues session at Portman Road before the match.

“Many thanks to the EFL and British Red Cross for being supportive of this ticketing scheme.”

The British Red Cross is the EFL’s Official Charity Partner and will be combining their efforts to reduce isolation in communities around the country via the EFL and its 72 clubs.

Trevor Birch, CEO of the EFL, said: “Through our partnership with the British Red Cross, we are using the unique appeal and reach of our Clubs to help reduce isolation and loneliness. Initiatives like the ticketing pilot launched today at Ipswich Town have the ability to bring people together, to build connections within communities, and allow people to unite through the power of football.”