Save the date: Lonely Not Alone to launch on 7 October

Friday 18 September 2020

By Andy Mortimer, Communications Manager

We’re excited to announce that year two of our Lonely Not Alone campaign to tackle the stigma of youth loneliness will launch on Wednesday 7 October.

Lonely Not Alone is created by young people, for young people. The campaign asks us all to wear yellow socks to show young people everywhere that they might be lonely, but they’re not alone.

This year there’s an added twist because our young co-designers would also like everyone to post a special yellow socks ‘outfit of the day’ to social media so we can have a bit of fun in the process (and reach even more people online).

It doesn’t need to be arty. It doesn’t need to be high fashion. It just needs to have the hashtag #OOTDYellowSocks.

Why yellow socks?

Young people created the Lonely Not Alone campaign in 2019 to help their friends and peers who feel lonely. It was informed by our research that showed that only 26% of young people feel confident talking about loneliness and even fewer (23%) think society treats it seriously.

Lonely Not Alone formed part of our Belong programme which you can read more about here.

I was lucky enough to be there when our co-designers first told us why yellow socks mattered. This is what they said:

We think loneliness is our fault. But it isn’t. 

We think loneliness will last forever. But it won’t. 

It’s hard being lonely, but we’re in this together.

Yellow socks are our symbol of solidarity.

When we’re lonely, we keep our heads down because we don’t want to look people in the eye. But if we see you’re wearing yellow socks, we’ll know you care.

Get involved

Young people are lonely more than any other age group and all the latest research we’re seeing during the coronavirus pandemic indicates this isn’t changing. In fact, the Mental Health Foundation recently found that young people are affected by loneliness in lockdown more than any other age group.

Getting involved in Lonely Not Alone is one way you can help. Here’s a few things everyone can do:

  • Find some yellow socks and post your yellow sock ‘outfit of the day’ on social media to show you care using the hashtag #OOTDYellowSocks. And don’t worry if lockdown means you’re not out and about. I’ll be doing mine from my lounge in my favourite football kit (it’s Hull City and the colour is nearly right)
  • Email Hannah in our Co-op Foundation team to request free pairs of yellow socks that you can share with people in your community. We can post to up to five addresses per organisation.
  • Tell your friends, partners and local businesses. The more people who get involved, the better.
  • In addition, if you work with young people specifically you may wish to use our yellow socks theme to engage them in discussions about loneliness. We understand that many of these will need to be virtual for now, but we’d love to know what’s going on and to promote your work online. Email us if this is something you’d like to do.

We hope you can support our Lonely Not Alone campaign. I’ve watched our young creatives build it from scratch and I’ve seen such positive changes to their levels of skills and confidence. I hope the work they’ve done can help others, too.

More assets – including videos, images and digital ways to get involved – will be shared nearer launch.

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