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Lonely Not Alone: A family outfit

The campaign means everything to me. It’s helped me grow as a person – it’s changed how I think” – Elorm, 17, Lonely Not Alone co-designer 

Young people are lonely more often than any other age group. That’s why in 2017, we launched Belong – our long-term commitment to help young people tackle loneliness.  

Since then, our work has focused on three aims: 

  • Connecting and empowering young people through £6.5m of grants to youth projects 
  • Strengthening the sector that provides essential services
  • Tackling the stigma that our research tells us stops young people talking about loneliness. 

Lonely Not Alone was born out of this final aim. Young people who co-designed the campaign with our partner Effervescent said that yellow socks were their symbol of solidarity. Every time somebody wore them, they were showing they cared about youth loneliness and, over time, this would tackle stigma and improve lives. 

Elorm, 17, has been part of our Lonely Not Alone family since our launch in 2019. This is her story. 

Finding Lonely Not Alone 

Elorm came to the UK with her mum in 2016, leaving Ghana and her older sisters behind. She initially found it hard to fit in, and quickly felt lost and lonely. 

But when she found out about Lonely Not Alone at her Co-op Academy school in Swinton, she knew it was something she wanted to do.  And she was also impressed at how much she achieved. 

Elorm said: “We came up with the idea for the campaign in 2019, as well as what we wanted it to look like and sound like. We, as young people completely created it all. And I think that it was absolutely amazing to do all that in just the first year.” 

In fact, Elorm enjoyed being involved so much in the first year that she came back to design phase two of the campaign in 2020. This time she had to collaborate with her fellow co-designers over Zoom due to social distancing. 

 She said: “As soon as we all logged onto Zoom, Ellie [creative director of Effervescent] appeared on our screens and immediately asked us to get up and start jumping around! It was totally different to what I expected. It was amazing!” 

#OOTDYellowSocks  

In its second year in 2020, the co-designers were tasked with making Lonely Not Alone even bigger…and brighter!  

Because of lockdown, they also had to make sure it was accessible at home and give people the chance to embrace the co-operative values of caring and solidarity to support each other. 

“We asked everyone to wear yellow socks, take a picture of their outfit, and post it on social media with #OOTDYellowSocks. We wanted to use yellow socks to remind young people everywhere that even if they’re lonely, they’re not alone,” said Elorm. 

The Lonely Not Alone family  

Elorm describes Lonely Not Alone as a family.

She said: “Being part of the campaign and creating it alongside other young people who have also experienced loneliness, made me feel like I’d found my tribe. 

“Using our experiences of loneliness to create something for other young people, to let them know that experiencing loneliness is okay, felt amazing. 

“The campaign means everything to me – I pour everything into it! It’s helped me grow as a person and it’s changed how I think. It’s even made me think about different job opportunities that can use the skills I’ve developed. It’s helped me evolve in every single way I can think of.  

“Lonely Not Alone has given me more confidence in myself; I can trust myself and I feel capable to do so many things. I could never imagine my life without the campaign!” 

In numbers 

  • 57 young people like Elorm helped to create Lonely Not Alone in 2020 
  • We reached seven million on social media through our Lonely Not Alone hashtags this year. 

Head to our Impact Report to read more about what we achieved and learned with partners in 2020. 

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