Customers at Age UK charity shop 'paid' in pledges to tackle loneliness

As part of the charity's partnership with Cadbury, the shop in Ely, Cambridgeshire, accepted pledges to, for example, check on older neighbours and have chats with older people at bus stops

An example of the 'cost' of an item on Saturday
An example of the 'cost' of an item on Saturday

Customers in an Age UK charity shop in Cambridgeshire last weekend were asked to pay for their purchases with pledges to help tackle loneliness instead of money.

The charity shop takeover, which took place on Saturday, was part of the charity’s partnership with the confectionery company Cadbury, which paid £3,625 to purchase every item in the Ely shop.

Any customer who wanted to buy an item took it to the till and paid by pledging to carry out the action on its price tag, which included checking in on an older neighbour, having a quick chat with an older person at the bus stop or promising to call and visit their grandparents more often.

Age UK received more than 700 pledges on the day and the shop was visited by more than eight times its usual number of customers.

Some customers also made cash donations, so in total the event raised £4,000.

Laurie Boult, fundraising director at Age UK, said: "We are thrilled that so many people visited the shop and have pledged to reach out to older people in their neighbourhoods.

"Loneliness is a huge problem, which can make older people feel invisible and forgotten. However, with the support of these customers we will be able to make a difference to the lives of many older people."

The partnership with Cadbury was established to highlight the fact that more than 225,000 older people say they often go a week without speaking to anyone.

As part of the collaboration, Cadbury produced limited-edition versions of its 360g Dairy Milk bar, with all the words removed and 30p from the sale of each bar going to Age UK.

The campaign has included a silent vlog from the Age UK ambassador and YouTuber Joe Sugg, a partnership with Sky Media that saw the comedian Sue Perkins spend 30 hours in complete isolation and a visit to an Age UK lunch club by the rapper Professor Green.

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