RVA’s summer intern Catherine McClane has produced a report on youth isolation and loneliness in Reading. Catherine spent the summer talking to young people and stakeholder organisations, to investigate the causes and impacts of loneliness for 11 to 25 year olds living in the town.
Catherine’s report was inspired by national research into the prevalence of loneliness among young people, as well as RVA’s 2017 report on Loneliness and Social Isolation in Reading which found that 22% of 18 to 29 year olds were lonely often or all of the time.
Her main findings were that:
- A third of young people aged 11 to 25 interviewed reported feeling lonely often or always.
- The main causes of loneliness identified by young people were strained relationships with family and friends, a lack of confidence, and mental health difficulties.
- Young people have identified there is a lack of things for them to do in Reading, particularly on weekends.
The report includes case studies of Smart Works Reading, Starting Point, and Reside Dance, all of whom are working to provide improved opportunities for young people, and reduce loneliness and isolation.
Catherine, who is a Politics and International Relations student at the University of Reading, as well as the Student Union’s Women’s Officer and a Girlguiding UK Adult Leader, said:
Loneliness has been a hot topic in recent years, and it is clear from my report that it is a problem for the young people of Reading. … There is room for improvement in the opportunities that Reading currently provides, in terms of how much is offered, and how diverse these opportunities are. There is also a need to break down the barriers that young people face when they consider participating. We must empower our young people to reach out and we must encourage them to grasp opportunities with both hands. The benefits of participating are wonderful, but availability and accessibility must be improved to widen the offer.