Entertainment

Free Festival of Connection to tackle loneliness this Blue Monday

The third Monday in January is known as the bluest day of the year, based on an “equation” calculated by psychologist Cliff Arnall in 2004 for the travel firm Sky Travel, who used the phrase in a press release to promote their winter deals.

With the arrival of a third national lockdown to herald in the new year, we don’t need an equation to guess that this coming Monday, January 18 will be at least as blue as the past 43 have been.

In defiance of this year’s extra Blue Monday, the Jo Cox Foundation and Manchester based virtual venue SocialEyes are hosting a special online celebration.

They will bring together morale-boosting celebrities from across the country for a free, day-long Festival of Connection to tackle loneliness and lift broken spirits.

This winter, nine million people in the UK said they were often or always alone, and 60% of Brits reporting feeling more lonely during the pandemic – which may not come as a surprise under the ongoing social restrictions.

The festival will of course be virtual, but it is designed to be interactive, and to create a feeling of connection by inviting people to participate in new activities altogether, albeit from their separate homes.

Acts will include a DJ set from Patsy Palmer who played soap icon Bianca in EastEnders, comedy from award-winning comedian Josie Long, a live bake-along from Ugne Bubnaityte of Great British Bake Off fame, and a bingo session compered by Scottish drag royalty, the Bingo Babes. 

The festivities will begin with an 80s inspired work-out session with Kim Leadbeater MBE, Jo Cox’s sister and foundation ambassador.  

“It is extremely important to have things to look forward to, and I am really looking forward to the Festival of Connection on 18 January,” said Kim.  

“It is heart-warming to think that through Jo’s foundation and The Great Winter Get Together we can bring some joy and fun to people and blast the January (and Covid) blues away, at least for a while.”

The festival is part of the Great Winter Get Together, an initiative of the Jo Cox Foundation which called on the public to reduce loneliness one connection at a time.

Tickets are free but participants are invited to make a donation to support the Jo Cox Foundation’s work. Book at www.socialeyes.club 

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