Tackling Loneliness in Leicestershire
Many people across all sections of society experience loneliness or isolation at various times in their lives. Loneliness can affect anyone, regardless of the area you live in, your age, your background or your personal circumstances.
The government has also recognised that loneliness is a challenge experienced all over the country, which is why a national Loneliness Strategy was published in 2018.
We are seeing that loneliness is a real issue in our communities, affecting lots of people, in lots of different ways. It can affect elderly people who live alone; young people who are struggling with social pressures; people with disabilities and mental health issues; those who have caring responsibilities; people who are unemployed, and also people who have recently become parents. The impact of feeling lonely can have quite a significant effect on how we feel. This can have lots of different impacts on our health and wellbeing.
This section of the website provides lots of useful information to help people reduce feelings of loneliness. It also has information about local sources of support, as well as how to get involved in community groups, projects and activities, which can help people to feel active and included.
Leicestershire County Council is committed to working together with our communities and partners to improve the lives, health and wellbeing of residents living in the county. We want people in Leicestershire to be happy, healthy and safe. We also want people to feel included, as it is important that we value the contributions that all people can bring to society. It is therefore important that we do all we can to tackle the issue of loneliness together, to help people in our communities to lead as fulfilling lives as possible.
We are all able to help each other – this is something that is within your gift to give.
Definitions of Loneliness
Loneliness means different things to different people. It can also affect lots of people, in many different ways, at different times of their lives. Nationally, 5.5% of adults say that they often or always feel lonely.
The Campaign to End Loneliness says that feeling lonely is a normal human emotion and is simply a sign of wanting contact with people.
The Jo Cox Loneliness Commission describes Loneliness as "a subjective, unwelcome feeling of a lack or loss of companionship, which happens when we have a mismatch between the quantity and quality of social relationships and interactions that we have, and those that we want".
The Government Strategy for Tackling Loneliness explains that we feel lonely when we deem our relationships and social networks to be lacking in some way. The strategy also states that when people feel lonely most or all of the time, it can cause serious harm. More seriously, feeling lonely is frequently linked to early deaths and its health impact is thought to be on a par with smoking.
A Guide to Tackling Loneliness
Leicestershire County Council is in the process of developing a guide to Tackling Loneliness.
In early December 2019, you will be able to download copies of the guide from this website
You will also be able to request paper copies of the guide.
The Guide to Tackling Loneliness will be launched on 5th December 2019, at the 'Celebrating Great Communities' showcase event, which is being held at County Hall.
Loneliness - Helping ourselves and others
There are many ways in which we can help ourselves and others to feel less lonely. Here are some ideas:
- Say hello to people in your street. If you're stuck for something to say, have a look at the conversation starters on the previous page.
- Find out more about the people around you. This could include people you work with and people you are involved in hobbies and activities with, as well as your neighbours. Making connections with those around you can really make a difference to our own wellbeing, as well those around us.
- Hold a street party or a Big Lunch. These are a great way of getting to know people in your street and neighbourhood.
- Start or join a social network in your area. You can set up a Facebook group for your neighbourhood, or create groups using Next Door or Meetup.
- Join the Leicestershire Timebank which allows you to swap, borrow or share skills with others, and make a difference in your local community at the same time.
- Volunteer with a local community group or charity. You can find details about local community organisations through Voluntary Action Leicestershire's volunteering website.
- Find out what's going on in Leicestershire. The Go Leicestershire website is a great starting point to finding out about events and activities around the County.
Further information, help and support about tackling loneliness can be found here.
You can find more details about setting up a community project, including getting started; planning your project; and how to apply for funding here.
You can see some useful tips of how to reduce feelings of loneliness here.
Leicestershire County Council and the University of Leicester's Unit for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement (DICE) jointly hosted the Leicestershire Tackling Loneliness Together Summit in November 2018.
The Summit brought together over 90 people representing a range of national and local initiatives, people and organisations who are working to tackle loneliness and social isolation.
You can find out more about this event here.