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Lonely Not Alone returns on 14 October, and here’s how you can help

23 September 2021

By Andy Mortimer, Co-op Foundation Head of Comms 

Our Lonely Not Alone campaign to tackle the stigma of youth loneliness is back on 14 October, and we’d love all our partners, fellow funders and supporters to help spread the word. 

This year’s campaign is designed to build understanding and empathy around youth loneliness.  

We really want to reach 16 to 25-year-olds who our research shows are the age group of young people most affected by stigma. To help do this, we’ve built a ‘stellar’ new website that we hope will catch the imagination and we’ll be encouraging young people to share the One Small Step they’ve taken to tackle loneliness. 

We hope this will show lonely young people they’re not alone, and inspire others to take actions that help. 

Get weekly updates to your inbox by subscribing to our Lonely Not Alone newsletter. You can also follow the campaign on Twitter

Why stigma? 

Research consistently shows that young people are lonely more often than any other age group.  

Our own research has also found that 80% of young people say a fear over other people’s reactions stops them talking about loneliness and just 26% think society cares about it

So, in addition to awarding £6.5m to youth projects and helping to build networks and resources for youth workers, we’ve also worked with young people to create Lonely Not Alone to combat stigma. 

With young people in the lead, we knew we could make an honest and authentic campaign that was rooted in co-operative values. 

57 young people were involved in 2020 alone as we asked everyone to wear yellow socks to show youth loneliness mattered.  

Lonely Not Alone universe 

Research we ran after our 2020 launch showed that 20% of young people UK-wide had seen our campaign but it also showed that some young people felt embarrassed about the issue. 

So this year, our young co-designers built something new. In partnership with our brilliant partners, Effervescent, they’ve devised a way to help their peers have deep and meaningful experiences that will help them to better understand loneliness, recognise it’s not their fault and find ways to tackle the problem. 

This year we’ll launch our Lonely Not Alone universe where we’re all stars and where we’re all connected by shared experiences. Young people said loneliness was a bit like space, dark and empty. 

The universe goes on forever. Loneliness doesn’t have to. 

One Small Step 

We’ll bring this universe to life on 14 October when we’ll be asking young people to share the One Small Step they’ve taken to tackle loneliness. 

They’ll be able to submit stories to our website as a voice or text message. Once submitted, our partners at Effervescent will review and add them to constellations of shared experiences. This means that any young person who’s been through something similar will be able to read stories of people just like them. 

We’re really excited about this year’s campaign and we can’t wait to see you all involved. 

Please subscribe to our campaign newsletter for a weekly update on how you can join in, and follow Lonely Not Alone on Twitter and Instagram.


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