A retired vicar from Sapiston was invited to join Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill at a special event held in Downing Street.
Reverend Canon Sally Fogden MBE was invited to attend the reception last Wednesday, in recognition of The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, for the work she has done to draw attention to and combat loneliness.
Both Mrs Fogden and Mrs Churchill, who is the Loneliness Champion for the East of England, have been tackling the issue of loneliness in Suffolk through events such as the Older Persons’ Information Fair.
Mrs Fogden also runs the Rural Coffee Caravan which allows people of all ages to socialise and access hard-to-reach services.
“I am a great admirer of Sally and her terrific work in setting up the Rural Coffee Caravan, a suberb scheme which does so much for our community,” said Mrs Churchill.
“I have seen first-hand the benefits this service can bring and it is these sorts of innovative ideas we need to help identify and challenge the causes of loneliness, particularly in rural areas.”
Mrs Fogden said: “What is most important is that where the effects of loneliness or isolation are felt, something is being done to help. That has always been my ethos and it is great that today, we recognise the good work being done up and down the country.”
Figures from the Co-op and the British Red Cross showed that over 9 million people in the UK suffer from loneliness. The event follows the appointment of Tracey Crouch MP as the UK’s first Minister for Loneliness.
The Government has also committed to a cross-government strategy to find ways to stop people feeling lonely which is to be published this year.