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Buddy Scheme to Combat Loneliness of Disabled People

Virgin Media O2 is joining forces with disability charity Sense to help tackle chronic loneliness experienced by disabled people.  


Sense supports people living with complex disabilities and, as part of a new 12-month programme, Virgin Media O2 is inviting its 15,000 strong workforce to join the charity’s flagship ‘Virtual Buddying’ service to support those who are at risk of isolation and loneliness.  


Sense’s Virtual Buddying service matches a volunteer with a disabled person, based on their shared interests, to carry out activities together online. The service was developed in response to the charity’s research, which shows two thirds of disabled people experience chronic loneliness (feeling lonely every day). 


Virgin Media O2’s employees can use their five annual paid volunteering days to take part in the initiative and commit at least one hour per week for six months to keep in touch with someone who is disabled.  


With the ‘Virtual Buddying’ service, employees of the UK’s largest mobile network can arrange video calls and have regular catch ups, virtual drinks or dinner together, or take part in online gaming or TV watch-alongs.


“The collaboration with Virgin Media O2 promises to enhance our Virtual Buddying service, addressing loneliness directly by connecting disabled and non-disabled individuals through mutual interests,” said Richard Kramer, Chief Executive at Sense. 


“The service has become a lifeline for many, and now with the support of Virgin Media O2 staff volunteering their time with Sense, even more individuals will have the opportunity to forge meaningful, lasting friendships.” 






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