Young people taking action to tackle loneliness

Loneliness can affect us at any time of life. Young people are no exception.

The Co-op Foundation is growing a UK-wide network of partners working together to prevent and tackle youth loneliness. The projects delivered by our network help young people form stronger connections in their community. While helping others, young people gain the skills to make the most of life’s opportunities and to cope with its challenges.

Watch our video to see some of this work in action.

Read transcript

00:00 The Co-op Foundation is working to tackle youth loneliness. With MMU we've been supporting a group of young researchers to investigate what this issue means amongst their peer group.

00:12 MMU is working with 42nd Street on a project called Youth Loneliness. The project was funded by the Co-operative Foundation. We're at the People's History Museum today and we're interested in looking at experiences in and around work. We've been using creative and artistic methods to understand loneliness from lots of different perspectives.

00:30 What we're trying to say is that youth loneliness doesn't have one particular experience. We've got a young co-researcher and he's an ex Deliveroo cyclist and he was interested in the way that people meet and experience work in the gig economy and are precariously employed. That's one of things we're really interested in this project is looking at loneliness in terms of friendship but also you know politicised forms of friendship and belonging in terms of their work and society more broadly...

01:02 Local projects like Royal Exchange Theatre working with KYP tackling the issue amongst groups are most affected... I work here, working with an exciting group called Heard not Hidden and it's working with the deaf community in Rochdale and it's about raising deaf awareness within the community as well as tackling issues around youth loneliness.

01:26 So what we're doing at the moment is the young people are getting involved in the art activities, they're in the process of making the video for raising deaf awareness... Activities like Play Station, arts and crafts, we also did music as well. We also did the filming and acting as well.

01:54 I've made new friends, the ones that I knew from high school, primary school. I love coming here on Tuesdays, we have activities, it's like a second family all together.

02:09 They're integrating with each other it's building their confidence, their self-esteem they're interacting and they're learning new skills... I think it's vital that the Co-op Foundation get involved in causes like this because I think it's about leaving a legacy that I hope that we support them with other factors like getting jobs, deaf awareness, none of this would have happened if we didn't have the support from the Co-op Foundation...

02:34 Next we're going to be focusing on projects that get more young people involved in their local communities throughout the country as a powerful way of tackling loneliness for them and their communities.

This work builds on our Truth about Youth programme, which challenged negative stereotypes by showing how young people play a positive part in their communities. It also complements the Co-op’s campaign to tackle loneliness.

Download the Truth about Youth Investment report for more information.

Tackle loneliness through youth social action

The Co-op Foundation is working together with the #iwill campaign to create a £2 million fund that will grow our youth loneliness network.

The first round of this fund has now closed. Future opportunities to apply will be announced in 2018.

#iwill is a UK-wide campaign to get 6 out of 10 young people involved in social action by 2020. Social action involves activities like campaigning, fundraising and volunteering, which make a positive difference to communities while developing young people’s skills.

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The #iwill fund is made possible thanks to a £40 million joint funding from the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund, and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

£1 million from the #iwill fund will be matched by £1 million from the Co-op Foundation. Our grants will fund projects that inspire young people in disadvantaged communities to tackle loneliness, through social action that’s shaped by co-operative values. These projects will also contribute to the collaborative work of our UK-wide network.

Other sources of funding

The Foundation is not currently open for grant applications. If you’re looking for funding for a youth social action project, check if one of the other #iwill match funders might be right for you.

If you’re looking for funding for another type of local cause, you might be eligible to apply to the Co-op’s Local community fund.

If you’d like to know more about the Co-op Foundation’s work with young people, get in touch.

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Co-op Foundation is a working name of Co-operative Community Investment Foundation, a charity registered in England and Wales (1093028)