Creating a long-lasting legacy for change

If there is one thing I’ve learned since joining the Co-op Foundation, it’s that you should never underestimate young people’s ability to drive change.  

Our Lonely Not Alone campaign is a great example of this. We put young people in charge of the campaign four years ago and they’ve helped us achieve so much since then to tackle the stigma of youth loneliness. From yellow socks to an ever-expanding universe, they’ve helped give others the courage to feel less ashamed and embarrassed talking about loneliness.  

This month, we brought together nine young co-designers from across the lifespan of the campaign one last time for a weekend of reflection and celebration in Manchester. It was a chance for them to look back on everything they’ve achieved to combat an issue that has affected them and so many other young people. 

Rosie, 25, was one of the young people who joined the workshop in Manchester this April. She first joined Lonely Not Alone as a young co-designer back in 2019.   

Rosie said, ‘It was really lovely to bring everyone together one final time and talk about how much both the campaign and young people have changed over the years. All the young people continued to bring such exciting and creative concepts to the table. It was a real testament to how important it is to have young people involved in creative campaigns. 

From my perspective working in advertising, it’s often the same types of people in board rooms coming up with the same ideas which are consistently underperforming. I hope Lonely Not Alone is an example of how every campaign should include young people’s voices.’ 

Read on to find out what you can do to celebrate with us in 2023, and sign up to this blog at the bottom of the page for regular updates about the rest of our work this year. 

A group of young people with yellow sock puppets reflecting on their involvement in Lonely Not Alone since we launched in 2019

A change of focus 

In 2022, the Co-op Foundation asked 100 diverse young people to shape our vision, and now we’re co-operating with them and others to turn this into a reality. 

This incredible group of co-operators and activists directed us to focus on bold, new priorities to deliver on our new five-year strategy. This is really exciting for our future campaign work, but it does mean that 2023 will be the last year we promote Lonely Not Alone.  

They say that all great things must come to an end. But like all great endings, we want to spend time celebrating everything we’ve achieved. We also want to reflect on the positive impact young people have had and openly share what we’ve learned from the Co-op Foundation’s first ever campaign. 

Help us in 2023 

Our young co-designers shared some amazing stories and insights in our creative workshop and we’ll be using these in our final campaign launch this June. Will you show you care about youth loneliness one final time?  

This year, we’re asking supporters to: 

  • Share assets suggested by our amazing young co-designers to celebrate Lonely Not Alone. These will uploaded to our partner resources page for supporters to share seven days before our campaign launches. 
  • Use our youth work pack to start a conversation with young people about loneliness to help them feel more confident talking about the issues 
  • Share a message of support on the Lonely Not Alone universe to help lonely young people now and in the future 

Future plans 

We believe co-operation is at the heart of strong communities. That’s why we will be working closely with communities and partners over the next few months to determine what future campaigns at the Foundation look like. We will listen and learn from young people to understand what topics they want us to campaign on going forward. 

Follow the Co-op Foundation on Twitter to find out more about our campaign plans. And don’t forget to sign up to this blog below to keep up to date with our future work. 

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