As Jo Cox said, “young or old, loneliness doesn’t discriminate”. We know that loneliness is not a new issue for young people, and we also know that the pandemic has made things worse. We are bringing Connection Coalition members together to amplify your existing work on youth loneliness, including calls to action and campaigns, and support those new to working with young people on loneliness to understand the issue and build skills to empower you to take action. We want to hear your views on the most helpful ways to go about this to help you best tackle youth loneliness in your communities.
As Jo Cox said, “young or old, loneliness doesn’t discriminate”. Research shows that loneliness is not a new issue for young people. In 2018, the Office for National Statistics reported that being 16-24 years old was one of the characteristics most closely associated with experiencing feelings of loneliness, with 9.8% reporting that they were “often lonely”. Whilst it is not a new phenomenon, we know that the pandemic has made things worse. 77% of young people agree that the coronavirus pandemic has made them feel more lonely (The Mix, Feb 2021), with 39% of 16-25 year olds feeling always or often lonely in the 12 months Feb 2020 – 2021, with an additional 41% feeling lonely sometimes. 33% of young people wouldn’t know what to do to help them cope with loneliness.
Loneliness can have negative impacts on our physical and mental health. It can affect our sleep, contribute to feelings of anxiety, stress and depression, and is linked to low self-esteem and feeling able to cope. Not all young people are at equal risk of experiencing loneliness. Research by The Mix has identified groups that are more at risk than others, including full-time students, unemployed young people, young women and LGBTQ+ young people.
Youth loneliness and the Connection Coalition
One of our aims with the Connection Coalition is to support organisations who work to build and maintain relationships and connections in their communities, creating spaces for them to share experiences, increase knowledge, skills, confidence and motivation, with the ultimate aim of improving practice. We know that over half of our members identify as working to tackle loneliness, and in consultations with Connection Coalition members earlier in 2021, youth loneliness was one topic which members recognised as an issue and wanted to come together to share experience and ideas about.
To support this, the Jo Cox Foundation has been successful in securing some funding from the Innox Foundation for a 12 month project to bring together Connection Coalition members who are working on youth loneliness or want to deepen their understanding and capacity to tackle youth loneliness. The project aims to harness the expertise and collective power of Connection Coalition members to reduce loneliness among young people across the UK by:
- Amplifying existing work on youth loneliness, including calls to action and campaigns
- Supporting those new to working with young people on loneliness to understand the issue, how you can help and build skills to empower you to take action
Share your views to help shape the project
In order to make the project as effective as possible we want to hear from you, our members, to understand what would help you on this topic, and to understand what learning and expertise already exists in the network that we can amplify.
Please submit your responses to this survey: https://forms.gle/8fjiDYUaUwCB8Gaw9 by Friday 24th September 2021. We are also happy to hear from you in any other way, you can send me an email, video or audio file or we can set up a phone call. Any questions please contact [email protected].