Half of disabled people have experienced loneliness, an inquiry launched by Jo Cox has found.
Research by the national disability charity Sense, on behalf of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, also revealed that a quarter of Brits admitted that they had avoided conversations with disabled people.
Only half of those who responded to the study believed that they had much in common with disabled people.
And those in the Yorkshire were twice as likely never to have met a disabled person and were the most likely to find talking to one ‘upsetting’.
Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves MP, co-chair of the Jo Cox Commission, said: “Many of the barriers to building social connections for disabled people are practical ones, such as the need for accessible transport and buildings, financial support and appropriate social care; but public attitudes also play a part in the risk of loneliness for people with disability.
“Increasing awareness of different conditions and battling misconceptions about disability are both important steps to help reduce loneliness amongst disabled people.”
Fellow co-chair, Seema Kennedy MP, added: “Jo Cox strongly believed that we have far more in common than that which divides us. However, disabled people are often marginalised from friendship because of poor levels of public understanding. These misconceptions can sometimes cause people to assume that they won’t have much in common with someone who has a disability, and in some cases can even prevent individuals from engaging in conversations with disabled people altogether.
“To help fight loneliness, it is vital that we all focus on our similarities rather than our differences. We can all create connections, find common interests and form friendships by taking the time to start a conversation”