In light of Loneliness Awareness Week from the 15th -19th June, here, Live Life Well shares its Pick of the Best groups and initiatives to help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation across the UK.
“The chances are we've all been affected by Loneliness, either directly or through someone close to us. We can all do more to try and make a difference and make our country a less lonely place."
—Minister for Loneliness Baroness Diana Barran
There is a big difference between being on your own and feeling lonely. Whilst for some solitude can be a positive opportunity to take time out of the day-today, allow self-reflection, contemplation and personal growth, for others being alone, can lead to negative feelings of loneliness, isolation, low mood and bleakness, which impact our mental and physical health.
Here we share some of the best resources and ways you can help reduce the feelings of loneliness and provide comfort and support to those suffering around you.
Live Life Well’s Top 6 Ways to Combat Loneliness... 1. Befriending Everybody needs other people but not everyone has someone’ - Befriending is a National charity that offers supportive, reliable relationships through volunteer ‘befrienders’ to people who would otherwise be socially isolated.
Befriending often provides people with a new direction in life, opening up new opportunities and connecting people with a range of activities that lead to increased self-esteem and self-confidence.
The team work to provide support for children and young people, families, people with mental ill-health, learning disabilities and older people among others.
Take a look at their website if you are looking for support or would live to volunteer yourself.
2. The Friendly Bench The Friendly Bench is an innovative social space, created for communities which aims to tackle loneliness, social isolation and build community cohesion using our innovative, purposely designed outdoor social spaces that reconnect people back to their own community.
An accessible social space, The Friendly Bench™ is a garden seating area that has been designed to be placed in social spaces to help connect people and strengthen communities and improve wellbeing through friendship and is the focus for regular community events and activities.
Founded by Lyndsey Young, a product designer, communications consultant and founder and editor of a successful green living website, who has personally suffered from loneliness in her life, The Friendly Bench™ is designed to be a simple, cost effective seating area for local communities to come together. Her aim is for these benches to be utilised in communities across the country and to help people improve their health and mental wellbeing, whilst tackling loneliness and social isolation.
If you are part of a community group, voluntary organisation or would like to see a Friendly Bench in Your Community, take a look at their website for more information or to find one near you.
Website: www.thefriendlybench.co.uk 3. Off The Record Off The Record is a mental health social movement by and for young people aged 11-25 in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. OTR provides information and support around well-being, including group work, sessions in schools and colleges, and one-to-one therapeutic support. They organise events such as book clubs, nature workshops, resilience labs and much more for the bereaved, care leavers, men, new and young parents, those unemployed and all young people aged 16-24.
Check out their latest initiatives and activities on the website: http://www.otrbristol.org.uk
Gransnet is the busiest online community for over 50s. Launched in May 2011, the site has been described by the Telegraph as "a new dawn in grey power". At its heart is a buzzing forum where users debate the hot topics of the day, support each other through tough times and share a laugh. Brimming with useful content covering everything from fashion to food, travel to technology, as well as competitions and an incredibly popular book club, there is something on the site for everyone.
An offshoot of the very brilliant Mumsnet, the leading parents’ website, Gransnet offers a sense of community, which can often be a lifeline, alongside essential lifestyle advice. So whether you're seeking impartial advice, looking for daily dinner ideas, or want to find that perfect gift for a partner or friend, Gransnet is the perfect place for the over 50’s.
Website: https://www.gransnet.com/ 5. Wavelength WaveLength is one of the UK’s leading loneliness charity providing media technology to those most in need since 1939. This innovative group provides radios, tablets, computers, and televisions to those who cannot afford it and desperately need help fighting loneliness. The charity aims to help people maintain and increase the number of meaningful connections they have in their lives.
WaveLength supports people who are lonely because of age, poor physical or mental health, or by circumstances which make it hard for them to leave their home. The team have supported over 4075 individuals since their launch and are continue to work with individuals and groups to help fight loneliness. According to Wavelength; ‘Technology offers a valuable window onto the world, breaking the silence which many lonely people live with on a daily basis.’
Take a look at their inititaitves here:
http://www.wavelength.org.uk 6. The Reading Agency
Reading Friends brings people together to read, share stories, meet new friends and have fun. Whether books, magazines, newspapers, or anything else, Reading Friends aims to start everyone chatting. Set up by the Reading Agency in 21017, Reading Friends is now a UK-wide programme funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, to help tackle loneliness by bringing people together to read, chat and share stories.
To find a group close to you, simply head to their website to search locations – website:
To find out more about ways you can combat loneliness, read our latest article over on TheEdit. Loneliness Awareness Week runs from 15th – 19th June 2020. Take a look at The Marmalade Trust Website for more details and information and together, lets help take the ‘one’ out of Loneliness.
Join the conversation #LetsTalkLoneliness