Taking action on loneliness in North Yorkshire

Woman helping older lady with shopping

People, of all ages and from all walks of life in North Yorkshire experience loneliness.

A 2016 study by the Co-op Foundation and the British Red Cross revealed that over nine million people in the UK across all adult ages – more than the population of London – are either always or often lonely.

The aim of the Loneliness Campaign North Yorkshire was to raise awareness of the many activities provided by voluntary and community organisations across the region. We were able to create a strategic framework which continues to encourage people, communities, public bodies and employers to think about, talk about and act on loneliness.

About the project

At the beginning of 2019, we secured £99,555 from the National Lottery Community Fund’s Building Connections Fund, to help support and inspire more local action to ‘turbo-charge’ the county’s response to tackling loneliness.

The Loneliness Campaign North Yorkshire was also backed by North Yorkshire County Council with in-kind support from the Public Health and Stronger Communities teams, as well as funding through the Stronger Communities Fund.
Throughout the project, we worked with a steering group of voluntary and community sector organisations, public sector partners and private businesses to develop a North Yorkshire wide, all ages, strategy for tackling loneliness (Be Social, Be Well) and supporting action plan.

Before coming to a close in March 2021, the project also produced a series of campaigns and resources to help raise awareness and enable people to take simple actions to tackle loneliness in their communities. These are still available to access and share below.

Be Social, Be Well

Be Social, Be Well is the strategy developed through the project which aims to tackle loneliness and social isolation in North Yorkshire. Based on an extensive review of existing literature and research, Be Social, Be Well includes a number of personal stories demonstrating loneliness as lived by people in the county, and a focus on some of the many services available across North Yorkshire which can reduce or prevent loneliness and isolation.

Be Social, Be Well incorporates a framework for action which seeks to inspire everyone to tackle loneliness, helping to build resilience and make use of existing assets to ensure early intervention and foster a preventative approach. This framework is based on five strategic ambitions:

  • Eliminate stigma
  • Make connection easier
  • Kindness in communities
  • Foster meaningful relationships
  • Build enlightened services

These strategic ambitions formed the basis of an action plan, to which a number of partners across the county are committed and which can be used as a checklist to underpin service development and delivery by any organisation looking to reduce loneliness among their communities and/or client base.

Read more in our Be Social, Be Well strategy document, or download a summary here.

The project created a wealth of resources and toolkits which you may still find useful. Have a browse and if you have any questions, please email us info@communityfirstyorkshire.org.uk 01904 704177.

Workplace loneliness

With more people working from home, there are less opportunities for face-to-face contact, leaving some people feeling more isolated and alone. We’ve brought together some useful resources to help address workplace loneliness and practical tips on tackling the problem.

Combatting loneliness through volunteering

Volunteering can help us to increase our own social connectedness and support others who may be experiencing loneliness. Find out more about how volunteering can help to alleviate loneliness and social isolation, listen to inspiring volunteers talk about their own experiences and download our resources on staying connected during paused volunteering here.

Stand up to Youth Loneliness

Youth loneliness can be stigmatising, hidden and disregarded. Designed in consultation with young people from across North Yorkshire, our youth loneliness campaign – Stand up to Youth Loneliness – aimed at tackling the stigma around loneliness in young people and gave them a voice to talk about it. Find out more and download resources here.

Voices of North Yorkshire Campaign

We have created a collection of different peoples’ experiences of loneliness both before and during the Covid-19 lockdown, with the aim of encouraging more honest conversations around the realities of isolation and loneliness across North Yorkshire.

Hear the voices we’ve collected here.

Staying Social, Staying Well

A fun, free and practical online quiz to help people think about their risk of loneliness in later life.

Stronger Together: a toolkit for building community connections

A collection of free online resources to help support communities, parishes, villages and neighbourhoods encourage conversation and initiate social action.

Top tips to combat loneliness

Designed to help people during the coronavirus pandemic. You can also find some further guides and information about supporting people who may be lonely during a lockdown on here.

Be Social, Be Well in the Harrogate District

Be Social, Be Well in the Harrogate District shows how area has created their own strategy for tackling loneliness using the 5 Strategic Ambitions.