Understanding Loneliness, One Conversation at a Time

Hosted by Marmalade Trust, Loneliness Awareness Week takes place this week and it is being supported by Chesterfield FC Community Trust. This year’s virtual campaign is ‘One Less Lonely Voice’; taking the ‘one’ out of loneliness to signify one less lonely voice. 

Amy Perrin, founder of Marmalade Trust, explains: “We want to get everyone talking about loneliness, via social media with the hashtag #LetsTalkLoneliness, social distancing and online. Our aim is to empower a greater understanding of loneliness, one conversation at a time. Loneliness is an emotion we are all likely to experience at some point in our lives and by building understanding we can help ourselves and others to manage feelings of loneliness.”

Ben Carroll has been a volunteer with the Marmalade Trust over the last year. “The main time when I struggled with loneliness was in my first year of university. It’s natural to feel lonely. It’s such a strange and unique experience to move away from your friends and family. Once I started to have conversations with friends and peers about loneliness I realised the scale. Because so many people experience loneliness, if the emotion is destigmatised and people feel they can reach out, so many more can benefit.”

The current pandemic has put the spotlight on loneliness but it is clear that a more online world can make many feel less lonely and more connected than ever before. Rebecca Cox, a single mum, has found the lockdown a blessing,

“Loneliness is one of the hardest things about being a single parent. Whether you have a great support network of friends and family around you or you’re flying completely solo, after you put your child to bed, the evenings at home alone can stretch endlessly before you. Lockdown has really levelled the playing field.

“Suddenly evenings at the pub, the cinema and impromptu get-togethers were off the table for everyone, so the country scrambled to find new ways to connect.

“For me, this meant friends doing online catch-ups and quizzes to replace the pub nights and gigs they would usually be at, and for once, not having any childcare wasn’t an issue for me, and I could say yes to everything. I felt like I was part of the group again.

“My birthday at the end of May was one of my best ever. My friends organised an online festival-themed party, had pizza, prosecco and cake delivered to my house and we even attempted online karaoke (with admittedly limited success).

“I’m hopeful that lockdown life has given more people an insight into how severely loneliness can impact us all, and how with the resources now available, if we pull together, there’s no need for anyone to experience it.”

Marmalade Trust are proud to be working with fantastic partners across the UK including the Jo Cox Foundation. The Jo Cox Foundation’s flagship event, The Great Get Together, takes place from June 19-21. This year’s Great Get Together will be focused on sharing the power of community, and a key part of this power is reducing loneliness by building connections. 

Kim Leadbeater, ambassador for the Jo Cox Foundation and Jo’s sister, says: “Working to combat loneliness was something my sister was passionate about. Our continued partnership with the Marmalade Trust around Loneliness Awareness Week will make a real difference in raising public understanding of loneliness and supporting those who are isolated.”

Over the course of the week, we will be looking at how the Community Trust is working actively to help combat loneliness.