03 Jul 2014
Across the country, thousands of people live in areas where they can’t get a good connection.
It’s not troubling broadband and mobile phone companies. I’m talking about a much simpler connection: meeting other people.
Anchor research has previously found loneliness is one of the greatest fears people have about growing old. This week charity Contact The Elderly detailed hot-spot areas for loneliness among older people.
Contact The Elderly holds tea parties to bring lonely older people together once a month. And colleagues across Anchor have raised tens of thousands of pounds through initiatives such as International Older People's Day and the Anchor Community Band to support their work.
I'm one of a number of Anchor colleagues who volunteer for Contact The Elderly. But their chairman Trevor Lyttleton this week said in the Independent that demand for its services has never been higher and many areas have no volunteers running activities.
I'm proud that colleagues across Anchor play a vital role in tackling loneliness every day. Our Manifesto for the Years Ahead, being published in the coming days as part of our Grey Pride campaign, stresses the important role of housing and care. It makes the point that technology can play a part - but can't replace face-to-face communication.
That's why we're using technology to be more efficient and ensure colleagues can focus more on customer-facing activities. Thanks to colleagues who provided tips on ‘email etiquette’ which we published on our intranet last week. A total of 1,711 colleagues viewed the page, so I’m confident we’ve got the awareness to put those tips into practice and together cut down on the unnecessary emails which take us away from dealing with our customers.
With the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire this weekend, it’s a timely reminder that the race was created back in 1903 with a key purpose to connect France’s cities with its sparsely-populated rural areas. A century on, technology is connecting those areas to a global population of millions.
I saw a great picture on Sky News where someone had written on the road along the route 'Ey up T D F!' - a sign of how Le Tour is breaking down barriers between different countries. We're working hard to break down barriers in Anchor too.
I met several people at Directors Direct in Heathside, Surrey, yesterday who had done a variety of roles across the organisation, creating connections for the benefit of Anchor and colleagues.
The challenge of making meaningful connections which create a sense of community for older people remains. On that, we have to ensure Anchor is leading the pack!