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Loneliness Awareness Week

Loneliness is a reality for way too many people in our society today. It's time to change it together.

Random Acts of Connection is a theme for Loneliness Awareness Week 2024


Monday, 10th June is the start of Loneliness Awareness Week - a national campaign run by the Marmalade Trust to challenge the stigma surrounding loneliness and show how we can create a more connected society. Thousands of community activities will take place across the UK for Loneliness Awareness Week. You can find your local event through the Connection Map. From coffee mornings and book clubs, to walking clubs and art workshops, there are so many ways to get involved!

This year's theme, Random Acts of Connection, encourages everyone to increase those simple, everyday moments of connection which help us feel less lonely and increase our sense of belonging.

Approximately 7.1% of people in Great Britain (3.83 million) experience chronic loneliness, meaning they feel lonely ‘often or always'

Understanding Loneliness

Loneliness is something that can affect us all at any point in our lives. It can mean different things to different people. You don’t have to be on your own to feel lonely. Loneliness is a general sense of isolation or disconnection from other people, or a feeling that we are lacking or missing social interactions and relationships. Loneliness can cause us to feel empty, alone, and unwanted.

“Our connection to other people and our community is fundamental to protecting our mental health so we much find better ways of tackling the epidemic of loneliness. We can all play a part in this.”

- Mark Rowland, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation

Loneliness can have a negative impact on our mental health, especially if we have been experiencing it for a long time. Some studies suggest that loneliness is associated with an increased risk of certain mental health problems including depression, anxiety and stress. It can also lead to a low self-esteem, disengagement, demotivation, as well as various negative emotions, thoughts, and beliefs. A podcast from Mental Health Foundation explores loneliness, emotions associated with it and how it how it affects our mental health:

Loneliness can be caused by various factors, which vary from person to person. These can include:

  • interpersonal engagement, e.g., having no family or friends, being estranged from them or the quality of the relationship with people around us.

  • social environment and personal circumstances, e.g., living alone, being a carer for someone, living on a low income, language barriers, experiencing discrimination and stigma because of gender, race or sexual orientation.

  • certain life events such as bereavement, divorce, relationship break-up, retirement, changing jobs, moving to a new town or country without family or friends, having a baby, etc.

  • physical and mental health like reduced mobility, chronic conditions, cognitive and sensory impairment. According to Sense, almost two thirds (61%) of disabled people are now chronically lonely.

The Kind Place podcast series below shows how people experiencing loneliness feel like and what they are doing to get through it.

Also, the series of Loneliness Explored podcast by Campaign to End Loneliness looks at different aspects of loneliness whether it is bereavement, communities, conversations and psychology.

How Can You Tackle Loneliness?

It may be difficult to start to deal with the feelings of loneliness or isolation, especially if you don’t know where or how to start. But there are some ways you could start to build those relationships and connections into your life. Help yourself and those around you too!

  • Keep in touch with those around you

Stay in touch with your friends, family and neighbours. Talk to them regularly to see how they are and tell them how you’re feeling. Hearing someone’s voice can make a big difference to how you feel. Whether you choose to meet up in person, or chat on the phone, via video calls or on social media, all contact can help remind you that you are not alone. Regular catch ups offer an opportunity to build up a support network. Everyone needs to feel they have a support system and being listened to can help you to feel less isolated. And this works the other way round too!

Two friends having a coffee in the cafe

  • Reconnect

Did you used to enjoy spending time with someone, but you have drifted apart for no specific reason and haven’t met in a while? You may feel that it can be a bit awkward reconnecting with an old friend, but grab a phone and send them a message, have a video call or arrange the meeting. They might be missing you too and be very pleased to hear from you!

  • Socialise with colleagues

Do you usually spend lunchtime on your own scrolling through your phone? If yes, then instead grab a lunch with your teammates in a nearby café or go for a walk and have a friendly chat. Break down the barriers of work-related topics and get to know your colleagues on a personal level by learning about their interests outside of work, like their family or big life events coming up. It will help you to connect with them and create a more meaningful relationships.

  • Try befriending

Befriending is a simple way of connecting with others, which can be a big help – both for you and your befriender. You could try one of these befriending services, which provide opportunities for social interaction and aim to reduce loneliness and isolation through regular phone calls or meet-ups in the community. Find a befriender or become one!

  • Keep an eye on the local events

Stay on the lookout for local community events – these can be a great opportunity to spend time with others and meet some new people. Nextdoor is a great way to find out what is happening in your local area. You could also have a look at MeetUpMondays™ - the campaign aiming to strengthen communities by running free, weekly coffee mornings at cafes and pubs across the UK. Check out if there’s one in your area!

  • Join a group

Join a class or group based on your hobbies and interests. Being part of an offline or online group is a fantastic way of meeting new people and making connections. Think about activities that you would like to try out and look for groups and clubs centered around these. Also, once you join the group, remember to be welcoming to any newcomers and look for opportunities to involve them in the conversation, especially those who may be lacking confidence.  You may want to find some groups and local events on Meetup.

A group of friends in the park

  • Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to get a chance of meeting new people and making friends, socialising with others, as well as getting to know the local community. And you can make a difference to the lives of others too! To find the right volunteering role, you can go to your local volunteer centre or visit one of the following websites: Dolt, Volunteering Matters, or Reach Volunteering.

Getting Support

If you feel that there’s nobody that you can talk to, there are many charities that can support you. Their trained volunteers are there to talk with you and to help you find ways to move forward. Calls and webchats are free, anonymous, non-judgmental and confidential.

  • Sunshine Charity – a charity aiming to fight the battle against loneliness and social isolation. You can contact them on the phone (0333 335 5049) or via live chat.

  • CALM - you can talk to someone at CALM by calling them on 0800 58 58 58 or using their webchat.

  • SupportLine - a charity which offers confidential emotional support to children, young adults and adults by telephone, email and post.

  • British Red Cross – it can provide emotional support in more than 200 languages. You can call their  support line on 0808 196 3651.

  • Samaritans – if you have been experiencing loneliness for a long time and you are struggling to cope, call Samaritans on 116 123 or send an email to

  • Shout 85258 - a free, confidential, anonymous text support service, 24/7. Text the word ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 to start a conversation with a trained volunteer.




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