Cadbury Have Gone Quiet

If you’ve been to the shops recently and fancied yourself some chocolate, you might have  noticed that there’s something missing on Cadbury wrappers. It’s words.

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Most people have experienced moments where older people want to strike up a conversation and tell never-ending stories, whether they are your own family members, customers, or just people you meet in public. It can be a lovely interaction, or maybe you need to get moving. Either way, sometimes we forget that this could be due to the fact that they’re lonely and just want someone to chat to.

Cadbury are trying to combat this loneliness by giving people the opportunity to “donate their words” because in the UK, 1.4 million older people suffer from loneliness and 225,000 of them often go a whole week without speaking to anyone. They will be donating to Age UK with 30p of each Cadbury bar bought.

Sue Perkins put herself in the shoes of many older people and lived in isolation for 30 hours, which you can watch below.

It’s hard to imagine what complete isolation is like, because for many of us, even if we go a couple of days not physically socialising, we still have our phones to text, call, or communicate through social media. If we don’t use that, we still have TV’s, radios, games consoles or streaming services like Netflix to keep us entertained. How sue spent 30 hours, is unfortunately typical for a lot of older people.

Age UK say that “loneliness is associated with depression, sleep problems, impaired cognitive health, heightened vascular resistance, hypertension, psychological stress and mental health problems.” We can’t begin to imagine what growing older whilst dealing with any of these issues could feel like. Age UK have also looked at different causes of loneliness associated with old aged people including:

  • Deterioration of social networking: friends or family members live far, or no longer be living. They may not have had any children and could be divorced or widowed, and it’s hard to socialise or meet people when you’re not working.
  • Health issues: as we get older, our physical and mental health can deteriorate. We may need carers, have limited mobility, or illnesses such as dementia which can affect our ability to socialise effectively.
  • Individual characteristics: factors such as ethnicity, religion, sexuality, socioeconomic status etc. can cause isolation, depending on the circumstances.
  • Neighbourhood: having a lack of neighbourliness within the area, reputation of the area and even the structure and architecture of an area can affect socialisation for older people.

Unfortunately, there is no local support here in Northern Ireland. However, if you wanted to volunteer at a local Age UK shop, or pop in and get some stylish finds whilst also donating – you can find your nearest Age UK charity shop using their finder map.

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Cadbury and Age UK are urging people to not only donate, but take some time out of their day to help older people in and out of their lives. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Start a conversation with an older person
  2. Call an older relative
  3. Check in on a older neighbour
  4. Volunteer with Age UK

MM1We might take older people for granted, or even ignore them. But it’s important to acknowledge that they’re people just like everyone else and have lived rich and interesting lives, probably filled with great advice for the rest of us.

It’s great that such a famous company are using a frequently purchased product to start a conversation about loneliness in older people. Not only that, but they are taking earned money from a product, and donating it to something of a greater significance, that also needs it more. Not only are Age UK and older people gaining more support and donations, but Cadbury are also creating a positive and helpful appearance for their company. It’s a win-win!

To find out more information, you can visit:

Age UK – Donate Your Words

Age UK – Combating Loneliness

 

Maya McCloskey is a final year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @maya_papaya30 and Instagram: @maya_mcc

Helping The Earth, One Meat Alternative At A Time

You might be thinking “well I’m not vegetarian or vegan, so I’m just going to…scroll past”. That doesn’t matter! We’re all extremely aware of the Earth and her poor wellbeing after everything humans have done to this planet. I know Greta Thunberg should have definitely drilled that into you.

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As we are all attempting to recycle more, stop using straws and use less carbon emissions, decreasing our meat and dairy intake is also a huge help. Farmed meat causes deforestation and uses fertiliser which produces greenhouse gas emissions. Not to mention battery farms and animals being purposely bred and pumped full of hormones, until they’re practically not animals anymore – just so we can enjoy some chicken nuggets? 

I’m not saying you need to feel guilty every time you smell bacon or deeply need a hangover burger from Maggie May’s. However, even just having some meatless or dairy days is already doing some good! If you can’t imagine giving up your Sunday roast and cheese, then don’t! You don’t have to sacrifice everything, and understandably, meat is a huge part of certain cultures – but doing something is better than doing nothing.

A common misunderstanding is that being vegetarian or vegan means you live on the same diet as your pet rabbit, which is absolutely not the case.

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I have always loved my fruit and veg, and even as a meat-eater, I found that I actually spent nearly half my week eating vegetarian or vegan, without even meaning to. I’ve only been an official vegetarian for 9 weeks now, and it’s been great! Yes there’s been some moments where I’ve had to have a stern talking to with drunk me (though many vegetarians admit to cheating for a McDonalds or kebab after a night out). However, one thing that’s hugely helped me is ‘fake meat’ or meat-alternatives. Not only are they tasty, some scarily meat-like (am I just being fed meat and lied to? Unsure) and providing me with protein that I’m losing due to the absence of meat in my diet, but they’re available to buy almost everywhere.

Here, I’m sharing some of my favourites.

  1. Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg! The Smoky ‘Jack’ Quarter Pounder

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The Smoky 'Jack' Quarter Pounder These are part of the new Love Your Veg range from @sainsburys . The burgers are smokey mushroom and jackfruit vegan burgers. They had a really good flavour and texture to them. ✅ Unfortunately I had to share with my wife. 🤔 @skinnylager is a vegan larger so the perfect accompaniment to the burgers and only 89 calories so I didn't feel too guilty having one at lunch. . . Full disclosure: I was given the burgers as a #SainsburysTastemakers and I was also given a case of Skinny lager . . ➡️ follow @silverback_grillers_bbq . . #burger #burgers #veganburger #veganbbq #vegetarian #veggieburger #veganuary #vegbbq #jackfruit #food #foodie #foodpic #foodporn #foodstagram #instafood #SainsburysTastemaker #bbhc #SainsburysTastemakers #thebiteshot #thebiteshotbookclub @thebiteshot #MattInwoodMasterclass

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Look at them. Don’t they look deliciously like any real beef burger? As this person is a meat-eater (gathered from 5 minutes of stalking this account), these jackfruit burgers are in pretty high respect. Honestly, when I first tried them, if you’d told me they were real meat I would have believed you. Jackfruit is this magical fruit that when cooked, has the same texture as meat, frequently used to make pulled ‘pork’. At 160 calories, even if you normally eat beef burgers but want the same taste and texture, but are trying to cut down on calories, fats, and more importantly – meat – these are perfect.

 

2.  Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausages

Honestly, they’re wonderful. I still enjoy a good fry-up, or have even cooked these the night before to make a sausage sandwich for my lunch in uni or work the next day.

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They also come in red onion & rosemary and there’s chorizo & red pepper sausages too. These sausages are perfect, and so quick and easy to cook without stinking up the whole house with sausage smoke from the frying pan. You can get these in Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Iceland.

 

3. Vivera Veggie Chicken Pieces

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These might look plain and boring, but these plant chicken pieces are perfect as a chicken replacement in almost anything. I made a ‘chicken’ fajitas with them last week, tasted just as good! You can buy seasoned versions of this, but I got the plain ones as I wanted to use one packet for more than one meal and so, I can season them with the appropriate spices for the dish. Vivera do a whole range of vegetarian and vegan foods, including kebab, meatballs, steak, goujons and more. So far, I’ve only tried this product, but I’d love to try more!

Even if you’re slowly easing yourself into vegetarianism, just want to swap out some of your meat during the week, or are already vegetarian and need more meat-alternative options – I recommend these to start with! I appreciate that it’s not everyone’s ‘thing’, but if you want to do a little more to help our planet out, PLEASE consider it. Not only for your own health benefits, but for Mother Earth.

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Maya McCloskey is a final year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @maya_papaya30 and Instagram: @maya_mcc