While some people thrive on being on their own, others need social contact. Communities have become more fragmented and lives are busier. It can be hard to have meaningful contact.
There are still ways to make friends and modern technology provides new opportunities.
British Red Cross Tackling Loneliness Digitally programme
This is funded by the UK Government. It helps those at greater risk of loneliness and isolation because of the Coronavirus crisis. This includes young people, people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, the digitally excluded, refugees, people seeking asylum and other vulnerable migrants, people at risk of loneliness due to health issues, and older people.
- New online resources help empower people who may be feeling lonely. There are resources for adults and resources for young people. The aim is to provide tools and advice on how to reach out during lockdown.
- The Kind Place is a 6-part podcast series featuring people who are experiencing loneliness. They discuss what it actually means to be lonely; what it feels like, how it comes about, and what they’re doing to get through it.
- The British Red Cross has free and confidential coronavirus support line on 0808 196 3651. Friendly volunteers are available, 7 days a week from 10am to 6pm. For those who don’t speak English, translators are available. You can email SupportLine@redcross.org.uk if you prefer.
- Loneliness Digital Classrooms where participants can explore how it might feelto be lonely or isolated. You can learn skills to help others who may be experiencing loneliness.There are two sessions available, one for 10-19 year olds and one for adults aged 19+. Email RedCrossEducation@redcross.org.uk or call 0344 412 2734 to book a place.
Community activities and volunteering
- Taking up an adult learning course or joining group exercise classes can help you to meet people. Find strength and balance classes at BeWellCambridgeshire.co.uk.
- Our Child and Family Centres provide support and activities for families with children
- Age UK Cambridgeshire & Peterborough has day centres across the county. Information officers can provide details of local services and support.
- If you need help finding out what is going on in your community, or to access services, a Care Network Community Navigator may be able to help.
- Lifecraft supports people who have experience of mental health difficulties in their lives. Support includes creative groups and social activities.
Help to get out
- Eddie's has a befriending scheme to help young people with learning disabilities to take part in activities in their community
- Re-engage (previously known as Contact the Elderly) organises regular social gatherings for over-75s. Visit the Re-engage website and go to 'Join a group'.
- Royal Voluntary Service has volunteers who support older people to be independent at home, and active in their communities, as well as organising social activities in Cambridge, Huntingdon, Earith and St Ives.
- Independent Age offers a befriending service which can include phone calls, face to face meetings, and where possible joining in social activities.
Stay connected at home
Maybe you are unable to get out and about, or you want to stay in touch with friends and family who live a long way away.
- Do you have a friend or neighbour who can help you to get online and use the internet? Cambridgeshire libraries have 'digital buddies' who can help you to develop computer skills, and show you how to connect with friends and family through email, or social media.
- Social media can be a great way of staying in touch with friends and family. You can see photos, send messages, even see young relatives grow up.
- Friends of the Elderly offers a telephone befriending service, where a volunteer will call at least every fortnight. Call 0330 332 1110, or email email@example.com for more information.
- The Silver Line is a free confidential helpline offering information, advice and friendship to older people. Call any time - it is a 24 hour service - on 0800 4 70 80 90
- Cambridgeshire libraries offer Engage Online - regular online events for the over-50s.
Someone to visit you at home
- Cambridgeshire Libraries also offers the Library at Home service - a network of volunteers who can bring books to you in your home if you are unable to visit a library. Call 0354 045 5225 for more information.
- Age UK Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Sharing Time scheme organises volunteers to visit people who find themselves isolated in later life .
- Care Network Help at Home can also offer short-term practical help during times of crisis, or when returning home from hospital. You can also call 01954 211919 for more information.
Mental health support
Our Keep Your Head website has information on mental health and wellbeing.
Mental health organisation Lifecraft has a phone helpline - Lifeline. You can call 0808 808 2121, free, between 11am and 11pm every day.