This year, the World Cup will bring together people of all ages, genders and backgrounds to celebrate the world’s favourite sport. But not everyone has a friend to watch the game with. There are 9 million lonely people in the UK and 4 million of those are older people.

To celebrate the World Cup in Russia, Nextdoor UK, the free and private social network for neighbours, and the Campaign to End Loneliness have teamed up to encourage local communities to get together to tackle loneliness. The World Cup is the perfect opportunity to reach out to those in your neighbourhood who might not have friends or family to watch the game with.

The initiative is welcomed by the PFA’s Chief Executive Gordon Taylor OBE, former Chelsea star Paul Canoville, and England footballer Rachel Yankey OBE.

So, as we prepare for England’s first match on 18th June, here are some top tips to help you use World Cup fever to bring people together over the next month:

  • Use Nextdoor to organise a World Cup viewing party in your community. Simply post a message in your neighbourhood or even start an event. It could be in your garden, your local pub or a big screen in your area.
  • Invite someone new to watch the England vs Tunisia match with you. It may be an older person in your community who lives alone or a new neighbour.
  • If you’re in the pub and see someone watching the game alone, invite them to join you
  • Join the Campaign to End Loneliness’ ‘Be More Us’ movement and find out tips to connect during the World Cup
  • Use #TackleLoneliness on social media to share your stories and pictures of your community coming together to celebrate the World Cup


Laura Alcock-Ferguson, Executive Director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, said:

“9 million people in the UK report feeling lonely, and 4 million of them are older people. Loneliness is one of the biggest issues we face. It impacts health and wellbeing and affects people in every community.

“Almost 9 in 10 UK adults believe that small moments of connection, such as making small talk, can help to tackle loneliness. The World Cup is an amazing opportunity for small moments of connection to flourish. Football is a global language and it breaks down barriers. The World Cup is a chance for us to all come together and tackle loneliness. Get together, watch the football with your friends, family and neighbours, and celebrate the beautiful game.”


Nick Lisher, UK Country Manager for Nextdoor said:

“All over the UK people are using Nextdoor to tackle loneliness and isolation by connecting with their neighbours, starting discussions and forming new friendships.

“In 2014, 20 million people watched the World Cup final. This year if a small proportion of those watching could connect with just one lonely person, we could make a real difference.

“The World Cup is the perfect excuse to get your community together and to reach out to those who may not have friends and family around them to watch games with. In 2014, 15 million people watched the first England match. This year, if even a small proportion of those watching the England vs. Tunisia game could connect with just one lonely person, we could make a real difference.

“Nextdoor communities are friendly and helpful. 28% of our members chat to their neighbours everyday compared to just 17% of the general public and 65% of our members exchange favours with their neighbours compared to only 38% of the public.

“We believe when neighbours start talking good things happen and so we want to encourage people to get on Nextdoor during the World Cup, reach out to their neighbours and see the positive change they can make to someone’s day.”


Rachel Yankey OBE, England footballer, said:

“Football provided me with a sense of belonging and community.  Let’s make sure we help to spread that feeling. Let’s tackle loneliness this World Cup.”


Paul Canoville, former Chelsea footballer and founder of the Paul Canoville Foundation, said:

“I am delighted to support Nextdoor UK and the Campaign to End Loneliness with tackling loneliness with the World Cup. Loneliness in some cases can be a by-product of mental health issues. Sometimes those living next door to us go undetected. With World Cup Season upon us, let’s put an end to loneliness. Check up on that neighbour you haven’t seen in a while. Ask them if they want to watch a match. Make sure they’ve had a meal. More importantly – engage with them. Start today! A small act of kindness can break down the barrier of isolation. Show support and let them know that they are not alone, that there is someone in their area that cares.’


Gordon Taylor OBE, Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, said:

“ ‘Football has the power to change the world, to unite people and create hope’, said Nelson Mandela, and we believe this to be true. The World Cup and our participation gives the country the opportunity to share this with everyone and make sure nobody watches alone. Football is a team game; let’s make watching the World Cup a community event.”




About Nextdoor

Nextdoor is the free and private social network for neighbourhoods available on desktop and to download in the app store on iOS or android. On Nextdoor neighbours ask questions, get to know one another and exchange local advice and recommendations. Nextdoor’s mission is to provide a trusted platform where neighbours work together to build stronger, safer, happier communities, all over the world. The inspiration behind Nextdoor was to give people a social network to connect them to one of the most important communities in their lives – the neighbourhood. Nextdoor believes that when neighbours start talking, good things happen.

About the Campaign to End Loneliness

The Campaign to End Loneliness is the first organisation in the UK dedicated to ending loneliness. We believe that nobody should be lonely. People of all ages need connections that matter. But there are 9 million lonely people in the UK. They lack the friendship and support we all need.

We aim to end loneliness and connect communities. We campaign nationally to inspire thousands of organisations and people to do more to tackle loneliness. We work at a local level in all four nations across the UK. We are hosted by Independent Age and funded by the National Lottery Fund. Together, we can End Loneliness.

Loneliness: The Facts

  • There are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK (Age UK 2016, No-one should have no one).
  • Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all (Age UK 2016, No-one should have no one)
  • Over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over live alone (Office for National Statistics 2010. General Lifestyle Survey 2008)
  • Two fifths all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company (Age UK 2014. Evidence Review: Loneliness in Later Life. London: Age UK)
  • Loneliness is as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)
  • Loneliness is worse for you than obesity. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)
  • Lonely people are more likely to suffer from dementia, heart disease and depression. (Valtorta et al, 2016) (James et al, 2011) (Cacioppo et al, 2006)
  • Loneliness is likely to increase your risk of death by 29% (Holt-Lunstad, 2015)
  • Research commissioned by Eden Project initiative The Big Lunch found that disconnected communities could be costing the UK economy £32 billion every year