The Connection Coalition: Youth Loneliness Panel, held on 16th December 2021, was held aiming to increase our understanding on the issue of youth loneliness. We shared some of the latest research and heard from various local projects, to help us better understand the barriers that community organisers face when tackling the issue of youth loneliness, so that we might address them in the future.
Connection Coalition Manager, Zoe Cumberland, reflects on the lessons from 2021 and outstanding questions for the Coalition in 2022.
Image from our June informal get together with Connection Coalition members
In the push to get people online, we shouldn't neglect the old-fashioned telephone
Last March, lockdown emptied the libraries. The church halls and community centres fell silent. The Knit and Natter groups, the coffee mornings, the lunch clubs, the U3A meetings, came to a halt, or sometimes, haltingly, reconvened online. In their cupboards, the tea urns gathered dust. But in people's homes across the land, Zoom screens flickered on and community life, or at least a disembodied shadow version of it, continued.
One group, Cambridgeshire Older People's Enterprise (COPE), took a different approach. Deborah Katznelson, one of their trustees, had spent much of her life in the US, where telephone conferencing is mainstream - there are programmes in California and New York and Texas among others, with hundreds of participants. She also knew that many of COPE's members were not really interested in online meetings - they wanted to stay in touch with others and continue to learn and socialise, but didn't particularly want to move onto screens to access community life.
The Connection Coalition is very excited to be able to offer Creative Connectors grants, provided by Facebook, to support organisations within the Coalition who are working to build and maintain relationships and connections in their communities. These grants aim to support Connection Coalition members to work together to test ideas and ways of creating meaningful connections, and capture and share members’ learning with the wider Coalition and beyond. As well as the money, we will match you with other members to collaborate with, and together with Talking Taboos, we’ll create a supportive community with those who are participating to offer support and inspiration.
Image from the Great Get Together 2018
As Jo Cox said, “young or old, loneliness doesn’t discriminate”. We know that loneliness is not a new issue for young people, and we also know that the pandemic has made things worse. We are bringing Connection Coalition members together to amplify your existing work on youth loneliness, including calls to action and campaigns, and support those new to working with young people on loneliness to understand the issue and build skills to empower you to take action. We want to hear your views on the most helpful ways to go about this to help you best tackle youth loneliness in your communities.
In this article, Sue Egersdorff, founder of Ready Generations, a Connection Coalition member, explores the need for human connection, the impact of the pandemic and the charity's mission to understand the impact of loneliness across all generations and to better understand the most profound motivators of human connection.
We are creating a community of practice for Connection Coalition members focused on how we can continue to put relationships and connections at the heart of our work.
The impact of COVID-19 on Social Connection and Integration - the Connection Coalition responds to Government's call for evidence
In response to the recent call for evidence from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration, The Jo Cox Foundation has submitted evidence on behalf of the Connection Coalition, based on the experiences of Coalition members.
From home working and home learning to staying in touch with friends and relatives, families have been online more than ever. But young people and their parents and carers can find it hard to agree on the right balance, and make the most of what digital offers. That's where Your Digital Family comes in.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and the unique collective experience of a nationwide lockdown, a spotlight has been shone on the issue of social isolation and loneliness and has highlighted some of the long term costs (mental, physical and economic) to our public services if left unaddressed or not treated as a fundamental part of our health and social care planning.