Today's letter from the Editor
Today's Matrices
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Page 3 Profile: Bobby Brooks-Phillips, charity volunteer

Have I seen him around somewhere?

Probably not. Bobby Brooks-Phillips is currently undertaking an “isolation challenge”. He is spending one week alone indoors, without any electronic communication,  completely cut off from the outside world.

Challenge? Sounds like an excuse to put his feet up…

It’s not as fun as it might sound. Brooks-Phillips will not be stepping out his front door once, and will not have access to his mobile phone or other electronic devices we use to while away the hours on. His challenge began in earnest yesterday morning when his husband Matt moved out of their home in Richmond, south west London, taking their pet dog Rosie with him. 

When you put it that way, it actually sounds kind of lonely…

It probably will be. He is undertaking the task to help raise awareness of the charity Contact the Elderly, which organises regular tea parties for people aged over 75 living with little or no social support. Brooks-Phillips, originally from Ohio in the United States, has been living in the UK since 2009 and has hosting teas for some time. As well as raising money for the charity, he wants to highlight that for many elderly people, total isolation is a way of life.

Okay, you’re depressing me now...

Well, think how it feels for scores of elderly people that remain forgotten up and down the country. Loneliness can be twice as unhealthy as obesity, researchers recently found. Previous studies have linked loneliness to a range of health problems 

In his recent book, Loneliness, John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, says that the pain of loneliness is akin to physical pain.

So what should we do about this?

Well, it’s not all doom and gloom. Contact the Elderly is dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation among older people. The tea parties offer them a regular and vital friendship link.

Guests are collected from their homes and taken to a volunteer host’s home for the afternoon. The teas bring people of all ages together, provide support networks for those in need and give everyone involved something to look forward to. Brooks-Phillips was inspired to carry out the experiment after his guests opened up to him about their own experiences.

How does he think he’ll manage?

Before the challenge started he admitted that he was nervous but that he hoped to inspire others to get involved with Contact the Elderly and connect with isolated older people. He said: “Many of the people that the charity supports were living their lives in similar ways, with no outside contact with anyone.”

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Career Services

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past