Many of us, if not all, experience loneliness at some point in our lives. Some feel alone most days. There are many studies into this human problem and in recent time the media has carried frequent reports.
It is for good reason a Parliamentary Group on loneliness has been set up. The late Jo Cox MP had this topic as a concern and the Jo Cox Foundation has since been stimulating a wide discussion.
The report notes:
- A survey by Action for Children found that 43% of 17 – 25 year olds who used their service had experienced problems with loneliness, and that of this same group less than half said they felt loved.
- Action for Children have also reported 24% of parents surveyed said they were always or often lonely.
- Research by Sense has shown that up to 50% of disabled people will be lonely on any given day.
- A study by The Co-op and the British Red Cross reveals over 9 million people in the UK across all adult ages – more than the population of London – are either always or often lonely.
We are lucky in our communities that there are so many facilities and services on offer to tackle isolation. The Greeno Centre and the Benwell offer a huge range of classes, social, fitness, lunches and support. Spelride helps to get you there if you can’t drive. Sunbury Neighbours offers the fantastic service connecting those less mobile with those volunteers able to drive.
St Saviours operate their Wednesday community lunch from 12-1.30pm which anyone is welcome to attend.
Nearby you will also find a weekly coffee morning at the Open Door church in Green Street. It is on a Thursday morning from 10.30 to 12.30 and everyone is welcome.
We recently attended the weekly coffee morning at The Burlington, the newly opened care home in Manygate Lane, Shepperton. Anyone and everyone is welcome. It is the home’s way of tackling loneliness both amongst residents and amongst the community. It opens its doors every Wednesday 10.30-12 and offers coffee and (delicious) home made cake free of charge.
The welcome is warm and when we were there staff spent time with neighbours and residents chatting with ease. I would certainly recommend you pop in sometime.
Such places welcome you whatever age but it will attract an older age group by default.
So what of the younger generation? How do they cope with loneliness? Absorbed by smart phones and social media, feeling judged and trying to live up to the air brushing perfection of Instagram. We were shocked to see the recent news item of a 14 year old who took her own life because of modern day pressures to be perfect. It is not an easy era to be a youngster.
It is not easy being a parent either. Apart from school clubs, the Riverside Youth Theatre is a good place to start. Children will grow in confidence, develop skills and socialise. It is definitely worth considering: www.riversideyouththeatre.co.uk.
Reach out to the community for help if you need it. There is always someone to listen.