Virgin Media O2 joins forces with disability charity Sense to help tackle chronic loneliness

Virgin Media O2 joins forces with disability charity Sense to help tackle chronic loneliness

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.

Power of connections to end loneliness

With the ‘Virtual Buddying’ service, Virgin Media O2’s employees 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 initiative forms part of Virgin Media O2’s sustainability strategy, the Better Connections Planand its goal to support 1 million people in communities across the UK  by the end of 2025, as part of its Take Five employee volunteering programme.  New figures released today show more than 225,000 people have been supported by Virgin Media O2 employees since 2022.

Dana Haidan, Chief Sustainability Officer at Virgin Media O2, said:

“We know how vital connections and conversations are, especially for disabled people who are experiencing isolation and loneliness.

“That’s why we’re proudly joining forces with Sense and are extending our Take Five programme to include the charity’s Virtual Buddying Service, so our employees can use their paid volunteering time to create meaningful and lasting friendships with disabled people.”

Richard Kramer, Chief Executive at Sense, said:

“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.

“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.”