A new resource pack aims to show people what they can do to reduce loneliness in their neighbourhood.
Today JRF and JRHT are launching a free resource pack setting out what you can do to reduce loneliness where you are. Tracey Robbins explains.
Loneliness affects us all, and affects us in the places and communities where we spend our lives.
- Almost half of all adults in England say they experience feelings of loneliness, according to a BBC poll.
- More and more of us are living alone – the number of middle-aged people living alone has increased by almost a third in just ten years.
- Five million people say television is their main form of company, according to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, MP.
We know that:
- loneliness has a wide range of negative effects on both physical and mental health;
- loneliness can be as bad for you as smoking and may be worse than obesity;
- lonely people are more prone to early admission to residential or nursing care
Loneliness can take us by surprise or can follow naturally in the wake of one of life’s transitions, for instance bereavement, redundancy, illness or some other change of circumstance such as moving house starting school or university.
We know that to build resilience we must first build personal and community confidence. We’ve put together this resource pack to provide you with the Why, How, What, Who and Where of our research to help you apply our learning to your neighbourhood.
The pack includes:
- a guide and tips for negotiating community action;
- a guide to the causes of loneliness;
- ideas to reduce loneliness;
- a collection of case studies;
- how we did it – the process;
- a guide to group work sessions to get you started;
- ten top tips from the external evaluation.
Our research draws on thousands of comments across different neighbourhoods in different cities. Local people, trained and supported in Participatory Learning and Action research methods and practice, developed links with local stakeholders and are putting ideas into practice in their neighbourhoods to reduce loneliness and increase neighbourliness.
In this pack, we share our evidence to inform not only your professional practice, but also your personal practice, but I can’t stress enough the simple things we can all do to make a difference.
As our Chief Executive Julia Unwin explains in her foreword to the case studies booklet: “Feeling lonely will always be painful, but it is usually transient. Problematic, deep-seated, on-going and, all too often, unacknowledged loneliness, is a more serious concern.”