Reducing Rural Loneliness: #TheLittleThings

This Winter, we are running a campaign aimed at individuals and communities in rural areas, highlighting the role of rural community businesses in helping people overcome issues such as loneliness and isolation. The campaign is funded by English Rural and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

We see first-hand how community businesses can transform the lives of people in rural areas and we want to share your stories of loneliness within a rural community through case study videos and photos to help combat the issue.

We want to hear about what’s going on in your community co-operative which helps combat loneliness. Maybe you run a lunch club or a walking group, maybe you’ve started a youth café or a dog walking group. Whatever it is, we want to hear about it! Tell us all about your community co-operative’s activities, clubs and services that bring people together to tackle loneliness, or how you make individuals feel welcome and included as part of your community co-operative’s day to day business.

Hear how rural communities are making it their business to help local people

Here are 6 videos we have commissioned as part of the campaign:

For individuals

We are looking for individuals to join us and to get involved by telling us what’s going on in your rural community which helps combat loneliness. In particular, we are looking for examples of young people, stay at home parents, home workers and people with long term health issues who have benefitted through engaging with their community business. Tell us about how being involved in a community business has helped you, or someone you know, feel less lonely.

Take action in your community

You may not be feeling lonely yourself, but you may well know of someone who is. We’ve come up with some ideas of how you can help bring the community together this Winter. Share what you’re doing with us on social media, using #thelittlethings

  • Give an hour of your time to volunteer locally in your community business
  • Offer to join a neighbour when they’re walking their dog – pop a notice up in your community business
  • Offer to take someone for a cuppa in the community café or a drink at the local pub
  • Organise a quiz night in your community business or community hub
  • Would members of your community business like to go to the cinema one evening, car share
  • Can your community business collaborate with a local organisation, such as Young Farmers, WI, Men in Sheds for an event, or to provide social/ volunteer opportunities?
  • Phone a friend instead of texting
  • Offer to put up or take down festive decorations in your local shop, café, church or pub
  • Christmas and New Year can be a lonely time for some people, send a card to someone new or invite them round for a festive mince pie – through the community shop?
  • Going to the local shop? Pick up something extra for a neighbour or friend in the village
  • Get a group together for a walk on New Year’s Day – perhaps the local pub, shop or community hub could provide hot drinks at the end?
  • Organise a community lunch for the community and ask for a small donation of food
  • Rally up some support to go carol singing and get to know your neighbours in the process.
  • Attend a local event and chat to new people – encourage engagement with the community business as a social hub
  • Maybe your community has a Facebook group, use it as a platform to start a conversation, see if anyone wants company for lunch or just to meet up for a chat.

Meet the Walkie Talkies

Still struggling with loneliness?

Loneliness is an issue which affects many people and there are organisations out there who can help. As much as we want to showcase everyone’s stories, we want you to feel comfortable sharing. If you’re currently experiencing loneliness or mental health issues, here are some organisations who you can talk to:

Mind Call: 0300 123 3393 or Text: 86463

Mind’s tips for coping with loneliness

Samaritans Call: 116 123


See the organisations who are supporting our campaign and helping spread the word about #TheLittleThings:

Need some help?

If you are interested in learning more about community business, the support we have available and the work we do supporting rural communities across the UK, please do contact us and we will get back in touch very shortly.

Contact us