Plunkett recently attended an All Party Parliamentary Group meeting on Tackling Loneliness and Connected Communities, with a theme for the event, which took place at the Palace of Westminster, of “Youth Loneliness”. We heard directly from young people who had experience of loneliness, as well as those working to tackle it.
The Auctioneers Arms, Caverswall: A community pub that’s created jobs specifically for young people living locally.
In rural communities that are facing continued cuts to services and closures of assets, there are thousands of people experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation on a daily basis. Loneliness affects every generation but 16-24 year olds are recognised as being particularly vulnerable, with this generation being faced with reduced opportunities, when leaving school or college, to access activities that provide them with vital social interaction. These experiences are often in transitionary periods of their lives where new connections need to be established from scratch. These interactions have been made more challenging as a result of the cost of living crisis too, with many young people lacking the disposable income needed to take part in activities with their peers.
We were really pleased to attend the APPG event, to represent the community business movement, recognising that these businesses are a proven way to address feelings of loneliness amongst young people. There are some great examples such as, shops and pubs creating flexible training and employment opportunities, community-owned woodlands offering social activities, and cafe’s and food growing initiatives providing health benefits targeted at young people.
Community businesses can create a “gateway” for young people and often lead to significant community benefit, through offering vital social interactions and meaningful connections that boost feelings of happiness and inclusivity. Often the volunteering and employment opportunities also enable young people to build lasting human connections, not only with peers but across generations too.
We will be using Loneliness Awareness Week to showcase some of the fantastic examples of community businesses, who are working hard to address loneliness and isolation in their community. Keep an eye on our Plunkett Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and also share your own stories of local action too.