The world has never been so well-connected, and yet for millions of older people this is the age of loneliness.

Across the UK, older age loneliness and isolation are becoming an epidemic as more of us live longer. 1.4 million older people are struggling alone. Of that number, 225,000 people don’t speak with anyone at all from one week to the next, even to share a few simple words.

Now Cadbury’s have come up with a clever and poignant way to address the issue of old age loneliness. In their new ‘Donate your words’ campaign they’ve taken the words off special limited edition bars of Dairy Milk chocolate, and for every bar sold, Cadburys will donate 30p to Age UK to help provide vital services and support for older people.

It’s a sweet idea, yet the most appealing element of the campaign is a series of touching little films that tell the stories of older people who feel alone.

In one, titled ‘Fence’, an elderly man living by himself has to continually return toys that have flown over the hedge from the boys playing next door. The story concludes with the kids saying thank you for his kindness by sending a bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk over the hedge, telling him this is not to be returned. 

The simple act of kindness illustrates Cadbury Dairy Milk’s more recent strapline – ‘there’s a glass and a half in everyone’, a reference to the traditional Cadbury recipe calling for this amount of milk to be added to every one of their half pound chocolate bars.

The films are being supported by a social campaign that encourages people to ‘donate their words’ in everyday actions such as checking in on an older neighbour, calling an older relative for a chat, or talking to Age UK about how they can help.

Considering the rate that our elderly population is growing, I reckon Cadbury will need to sell a shipload of Dairy Milk to make a meaningful difference to old age loneliness.

But seriously, we should applaud this example of a major brand showing a caring public persona. Let’s hope it encourages other brands to do the same.


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