Dame Esther Rantzen DBE to discuss her loneliness battle at Smiley TALK

Veteran campaigner Dame Esther Rantzen will tell of her struggles with loneliness and isolation as part of a new series of nationwide town hall events celebrating inclusion and diversity.

The first Smiley TALK to be held in London sees the 79-year-old joined by experts from SamaritansChildline, Alertacall and her own The Silver Line organisation in a bid to find solutions to the epidemic of social isolation in the UK.

Dame Esther has been a vocal advocate on the subject ever since losing her beloved husband in the year 2000.

She comments: “Isolation and loneliness are extremely damaging.  They can affect the well-being and health of people of all ages, and from all backgrounds, and take a huge toll on our health and social care system.

“Technology, which we often assume helps people connect, can also play a role in making people feel more alone, not less.  Contact is not the same as company.

“I’m really looking forward to discussing these issues and their solutions at The Smiley TALK event.”

Smiley TALKs aim to drive positive change in society and mobilise good ideas by raising awareness of important issues and developing solutions to these problems. They see real people tell personal stories on subjects linked to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals including marginalisation, injustice and gaps in care alongside moderated panel discussions with local leaders and community figures.

They are organised by Smiley Movement – a community interest company that aims to transform how charities and social enterprises connect with members of the public who want to bring about positive change.

Founder Nicolas Loufrani says: “We are absolutely delighted that Dame Esther will be speaking alongside our esteemed panel of industry experts for the first Smiley TALK to be held in London.

“It’s clear too few people are getting the support they need to combat the debilitating effects of loneliness.”

The talk entitled Ending Loneliness & Isolation will take place on the evening of September 25th at Candid Arts Trust in Angel, London.

The keynote address will be provided by 29-year-old student James Downs who struggled with suicidal thoughts on a daily basis before reaching out to The Samaritans.

There will also be a panel discussion moderated by broadcaster Jane Little followed by an audience Q&A session alongside an experiential workshop from the London Is Lonely initiative.

Smiley TALKS are free and open to all – but you will need to register beforehand at smileymovement.org.


Title: Smiley TALKS – Ending Loneliness & Isolation

Date/time: September 25th, 6pm-9pm

Location: Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London, EC1V 1NQ

Tickets: Register at smileymovement.org/events/smiley-talk/1433

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