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Combating an epidemic of loneliness

Newham Council is joining the “Let’s Talk Loneliness” campaign to mark Loneliness awareness week between 14 and 18 June 2021.

 

The week aims to raise awareness of loneliness and encourages people to speak openly about it.

After a year of lockdowns, social distancing, and restrictions, people are, more than ever, the ones who experience loneliness. This can have a great impact on our wellbeing.

For Zulfiqar Ali, cabinet member for Adults and Health, it is more important than ever to look out for yourselves and your neighbours.

In his view, with the pandemic, he has no doubt that the incidence of loneliness and isolation has increased significantly. He explains that sometimes just having a chat with someone or hearing a friendly voice can do you the world of good.

Zulfiqar Ali therefore encourages anyone “who is feeling lonely to not suffer in silence and to reach to those around you.”

Meanwhile, founder of Loneliness Awareness week Amy Perrin has says that people rarely talk about loneliness, despite it being a very common feeling.

“When people do talk about loneliness, it’s often in negative terms – something that is ‘suffered from’ or perhaps to say; ‘I admit it, I’m lonely. Our wish is to change this habit of loneliness being seen as a negative, weak or hopeless thing”, she explains.

Perry says that while it can be an uncomfortable feeling, with the right support it can be temporary and can in fact be framed positively – a blank canvas on which currently lonely individuals can fill their lives with new friends, new conversations and new experiences.

The week

As the stigma around loneliness can lead to further isolation, this year the Council, through the “Let’s Talk Loneliness” campaign, is offering residents information on how to recognise loneliness, where to find help; and tips on how to feel more connected during the awareness week and beyond.

Organisers are encouraging residents to start and continue the conversation by sharing your ideas and tips on how to stay connected using the hashtags #NewhamConnected and #LetsTalkLoneliness

And they also suggest that during Loneliness Awareness Week, people keep in touch with those around them, whether it they have been meaning to make, a visit to someone they have not seen in a while or sending a letter or card to let someone know you’re thinking of them.

They also suggest setting a routine: try one of the many free groups or activities in the borough, such as walking groups, book clubs, community gardens or fitness classes.

The organisers also highlight a range of free sessions that people can try if they are ready to make that first step. Therefore, they suggest clicking here or talking to the Community Neighbourhood Link Worker.

Information: Newham Council Communications Team

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