Partnering with the Campaign to End Loneliness, TransPennine Express are hoping to inspire people to connect and bring communities together by train.
TransPennine Express (TPE) have undertaken research that has revealed that 61% of people in Britain have experienced loneliness over the past two months, with 1 in 10 set to spend Christmas Day alone.
TPE’s partnership with the Campaign to End Loneliness began earlier this year with the aim to raise awareness and see an increase in openness towards the issue of loneliness. The partnerships ongoing work is set to embrace the rail operators position to connect people throughout the North and Scotland.
A message to encourage customers to build human connections and to check in with family, friends and neighbours over the festive period will help in bringing down levels of loneliness.
Over nine million people in the UK suffered loneliness during the pandemic, this figure increased as people could not see their loved ones. TPE have taken the opportunity to inform both customers and colleagues about available support services alongside hints and tips on how to deal with loneliness.
TPE’s research also shows that half of people in Britain had recently got together with family and friends they hadn’t seen for over a year, 70% of those agreed that being able to travel by train gave them a great way to help reconnect with important people in their lives.
Customer Experience Director for TransPennine Express, Kathryn O’Brien said: “Loneliness affects so many people and we share the vision of the Campaign to End Loneliness that everyone can live a life free from chronic loneliness.
“Christmas is a time for love and cheer and so it’s heartbreaking to know that more than half of the UK has suffered from loneliness in the past two months and that some people are set to spend the festive season alone.
“Now more than ever we want to encourage people to get out and about and make those human connections that we all need, and as a provider of travel, we know we can make a difference and our trains can help make those connections.”
Robin Hewings, Programme Director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, said: “Christmas is a time when we think a lot about people who might be lonely – and being alone on Christmas day, not through choice, can be really challenging after a tough year.
“The numbers of people who have been lonely in the last two months is awful. For people that are able to travel the chance to visit loved ones is a real boon.”
Taking onboard the Campaign to End Loneliness’ employers pledge, TPS will provide resources and information that colleagues can use, including guidance on how to recognise if someone may be experiencing loneliness.
As well as supporting TPE colleagues, the rail operator is also moving forward with raising awareness about loneliness with their customers by adding a series of the Campaign to End Loneliness podcasts to their free onboard entertainment service Exstream. The podcasts explore different themes and are expected to help raise awareness on the issue of loneliness.
Further steps have seen TPE include ‘Chatty benches’ in their stations in a bid to encourage people to have a chat with other customers when passing through the station, as just a small moment of connection can help towards alleviating feelings of loneliness.