MP Seema’s loneliness quest to honour late friend Jo Cox

Seema Kennedy, South Ribble MP
Seema Kennedy, South Ribble MP
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South Ribble MP Seema Kennedy is working to keep the legacy of murdered colleague Jo Cox alive, by launching a new loneliness campaign.

The two women had been working together since January on the idea of a National Commission on Loneliness and were set for a summer launch, before Mrs Cox was killed.

Now, working with Mrs Cox’s friend and fellow Yorkshire MP Rachel Reeves, Mrs Kennedy is preparing to set the wheels in motion in January.

She said: “It’s about carrying on all the great work Jo had done. When she died things took on a different magnitude. The man who killed her thought he would silence her, but instead it seems her voice has been amplified.”

She said the commission is a “practical call to action”.

She added: “What Jo didn’t want to do was to produce a report to Government and the recommendations are never taken up. Instead this is about what you can do if you have five free minutes, 30 minutes, if you just speak to your neighbour or phone your grandma.”

The commission is also working with charties and businesses including the Co-op, in helping prepare staff for big transition points in their lives such as retirement.

Throughout next year there will be spotlights on different groups who may feel loneliness, such as men, children, carers, older people and refugees. Mrs Kennedy is also passionate about raising awareness of loneliness in new mums, having been through that experience.

She said: “Everything is quite different. I went from working full time in London and then everything changed.

“We need to recognise that all of us are lonely at some point in our lives. It’s about making sure we set up ways of being more resilient.”