WI MEMBERS from across Oxfordshire will come together next week to find the best ways to tackle loneliness in their communities.

The conference will take place on Valentine's Day, a date chosen as is often the loneliest day of the year for many.

The Cumnor event will bring together national and local experts, with Paul Cann, co- founder of The Campaign to End Loneliness opening the summit and bringing members up to date with news from the campaign which has led to the Jo Cox commission.

More than 60 delegates representing members from 135 WIs will also hear from Penny Thewlis from Age UK Oxfordshire and Action for Carers Oxfordshire, Peter Lefort of ‘The Big Lunch’, Sheila Furlong from the Archway Foundation, Lois Muddiman from Ami, Homestart and The Samaritans.

In June, WI members voted to back a proposal that seeks to improve the identification of people who are lonely.

It is estimated that more than nine million adults of all ages in the UK are lonely ‘always or often’, including 28 per cent of new mothers and 32 per cent of people with long term health conditions.

Catherine Blaxhall, chairman of Oxfordshire WI public affairs said: “The WI has been at the heart of communities for 102 years, and the organisation remains a key place for women to come together to make friends. WI members in Oxfordshire are engaged and active in the local community, and this summit is the ideal opportunity to reach out to our network to tackle loneliness.”