Building Connections is a project which aims to tackle loneliness amongst young people in Great Yarmouth. In the early stages of this project we asked over 400 local young people about their experiences of loneliness and we have used their responses and suggestions to develop ways to address this really prevalent and serious issue.
What we have learned is that “loneliness” is different for everyone. It can be a feeling of isolation due to a lack of access to activities and groups, or it could be more closely linked to confidence, self-esteem and mental health. We have developed a range of services for those young people who feel lonely, whatever their perspective.
We have trained mentors who can work with individuals to help them to identify the causes and to discuss the impact of their loneliness. These mentors can meet each individual weekly and work towards helping them find sustainable ways to alleviate it. This could be through supporting their access to local groups, activities and opportunities or through helping them to access professional advice and information around housing and benefits.
We have also set up two small social groups. As with all groups at MAP they are supported by trained staff who prioritise the creation of a safe space and a supportive and enjoyable environment. Within these groups young people will have a say in the activities and opportunities they access and in the topics which they discuss and learn about. These groups are for 11-16 and 17-25 year olds respectively and take place at MAP in Great Yarmouth.
A group of local young people have also formed a campaigning group, to raise awareness of youth loneliness and to coordinate with National campaigns which are addressing the same issue. The group would welcome new members who are keen to develop educational resources to deliver in school assemblies and to look for creative ways to publicise the causes and impact of loneliness as well as the possible support available locally.
Building Connections is funded by the Coop Foundation and supported by the National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Culture Media and Sport.
Mentoring: Available at the convenience of the individual young person
Details of our social groups are available upon request. The location of the groups are flexible depending on the needs of young people in the great Yarmouth Borough. We will be working with young people at MAP, and local schools and colleges. The groups will still run every two weeks, and will last for ten sessions.