Sometimes we all need a bit of inspiration to get us going. Around the UK, voluntary and community sector groups have been rising to the challenge of reducing loneliness and social isolation in a thousand creative and exciting ways, for years. Projects and schemes have come and gone and many are, thankfully, still running.
Success factors have included: enough long-term funding; involving the right people at the right time; being innovative; evidence of need and impact; great publicity; learning what does and doesn’t work – it’s a long list. Oh, and luck! There’s no magic formula and one size definitely doesn’t fit all, but it’s always worth looking for ideas and new angles from what’s been happening locally and nationally.
Inspirational and informative films
Channel 4 news item What Does it Feel Like to be Alone?
Radio presenter Malavika Varadan’s TedX talk ‘7 ways making a conversation with anyone’.
Channel 4 documentary Old People’s Home for 3 year olds
What local people say about the difference that Reading’s voluntary and community sector groups have made to their lives:
“It helps to give us a wider group of friends. It can be difficult to research if a place has the right facilities for wheelchairs…this group will think of these things when booking coaches and venues.” Edward and Janice McArdle, supported by Parkinson’s Society, Reading.
“I feel less stressed. I recommend that anyone who is lonely to contact a local group and ask for help.” Service user supported by Talkback, Reading.
“I recommend people to join the group and they might gain some confidence in listening to other people’s views.” Jeremy, supported by Talkback, Reading.
“I had anxiety due to homelessness and lack of support. They afforded me company and made me feel relaxed. I felt I had support if I needed it.” Service user, supported by Talkback, Reading.
Sunday Alternative Reading is a secular community group that meets monthly to celebrate life by singing songs together, listening to talks and eating tea and cake!
And finally, have a read through these people’s stories from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.