John Lewis Christmas advert inspires thousands to volunteer to help the elderly

Age UK says it is 'delighted and touched' at the response to The Man on the Moon so far

Paul Gallagher
Thursday 12 November 2015 18:47
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John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015

Thousands of people have been inspired by the John Lewis Christmas ad and come forward offering to volunteer to help the elderly during the festive season.

Age UK, which sponsored the department store’s campaign aimed at highlighting the plight of loneliness among pensioners, said it was “delighted and touched” at the response so far.

The advert, called The Man on the Moon, tells the story of a girl called Lily who looks through her bedroom telescope, spots an elderly man all alone and becomes determined to send him a message to say she is thinking of him.

Esther Jackson Marketing and Fundraising Director at Age UK said: “We really hoped the ad would strike a chord with people - driving not only awareness, but importantly donations and actions to help some of the million older people who go for a month without speaking to anyone. It’s also a great reminder to us all to reach out to older family members, friends and neighbours over the cold winter months. We’ve been delighted and touched by the response so far - for both this activity with John Lewis and our wider ‘No one should have no one at Christmas’ campaign. We’ll be responding to all those who have got in touch about wanting to volunteer.”

More than 500 people in the last week have also called Contact the Elderly, which organises Sunday tea parties for people aged over 75 living alone, with many citing the advert as the reason.

John Lewis Christmas Ads 2008-2014

Veterinary surgeon Emma Flower, 27, from Sutton Coldfield, said: “I started doing some research this week after I’d seen the ad as I didn’t really know too much about elderly people living alone, especially the scale of it,” she told the i. “Every year you hear about how the cold snap will affect the elderly but not so much on loneliness.”

Mary Rance, Chief Executive of Contact the Elderly, said: “We see first-hand how debilitating loneliness is for older people, and things like the John Lewis advert and the recent Bisto campaign are helping to highlight this more widely. Our dedicated network of over 8,000 volunteers make a huge difference to the lives of older people across the country by contributing just a few hours a month through our tea parties. We’re delighted that more people are coming forward to help. Our simple solution is one that works, and we’d love to extend our lifeline to more older people.”

Crisis, the homelessness charity, also hoped to see a surge in volunteers for its annual Crisis at Christmas campaign.

Chief Executive Jon Sparkes said: “Our Christmas volunteer operation is the largest of its kind in Europe, with an unprecedented 10,000 people taking part in 2014. Homelessness in England has risen markedly recently, with rough sleeping increasing by 55 per cent over the last five years and by 14 per cent in the last year alone.

“This year we’re looking to recruit over 13,000 people in fourteen centres across five cities during the Christmas period. With rising numbers facing the loss of their homes and councils being forced to cut more and more services, the dedication and passion of volunteers at Crisis at Christmas is needed more than ever.”

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