GCU students to take the debate to policy advisors

10 April 2017

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) students have been invited to present to senior policy executives in the run up to a proposed new national strategy from the Scottish Government to tackle loneliness and isolation among people in Scotland.

Chronic loneliness, especially that faced by those over 65, is described as part of a UK-wide loneliness epidemic.

In Scotland, at least 10% of older people are thought to be often or always lonely, and there is increasing evidence that younger age groups are also affected. Loneliness is linked to poor health including depression, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system and an increased risk of developing dementia. To address this, the Scottish Government plans to produce a national strategy to tackle loneliness and isolation to improve the quality of life for older people in Scotland.

Working in partnership with Voluntary Health Scotland (VHS), GCU students studying a Marketing Masters module, part of the MSc in International Marketing, and led by social marketing Lecturer Brian Smith will present a social marketing strategy which aims to tackle and address loneliness as an issue through collaboration between key government, health and voluntary service organisations.

Key policy maker Trevor Owen, who is leading on the social isolation and loneliness strategy for the Scottish Government, will be in attendance.

Brian Smith said: “The opportunity to contribute to shaping policy on a key issue which affects the lives of so many aligns with our University’s commitment to deliver for the common good. It is imperative that organisations are empowered to reach out to their communities to tackle this issue and with the right social marketing strategy, we know that this impact can be far reaching in a positive way.”

Eighteen students split into four teams will take part in the event and compete in a Dragon’s Den style-competition to decide which social marketing strategy delivers the most effective social impact.