Leading a national network to tackle youth loneliness

21 May 2019

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We are set to lead a UK-wide network of organisations working together to improve how the sector tackles youth loneliness.

The ‘Belong Collective’ will bring together youth workers in a dynamic community that supports learning and collaboration, and develops best practice. The sector-led forum will also help drive a national conversation about how youth workers are best placed to address the issue of loneliness.

Any youth organisation that joins UK Youth can be part of the Belong Collective. UK Youth and the Collective is free to join and interested parties can email movement@ukyouth.org for details.

UK Youth published A Place To Belong in 2018, which contained a series of strategic and delivery-level recommendations to support youth organisations to even better address loneliness. One of these recommendations was to create a space for a network of youth workers and organisations to share advice, experience and create innovative solutions to address youth loneliness.

The Belong Collective will build on this recommendation and the work of the Co-op Foundation, which has been running network days to support youth workers to share learning since 2017. These network days were part of the Foundation’s wider Belong programme that has helped to raise the national profile of youth loneliness and now aims to connect and empower 7,500 young people to beat loneliness by 2021.

Funding for the collective has been provided by Co-op Foundation and government through their partnership on the Building Connections Fund Youth strand.

“Youth loneliness is a big issue facing young people across the country today. Youth organisations are ideally placed to be a key part of the solution and offer support for young people who feel lonely. From providing safe spaces for young people, to fostering a sense of belonging and providing opportunities to build positive relationships and skills, this support is vital. We’re proud that our recommendation to facilitate a collaboration among youth workers to share experiences, advice and ideas has been heard and we’re excited to lead this network of support to help strengthen the youth sector’s work to tackle this issue.” Maddie Dinwoodie, Deputy CEO of UK Youth

“Local youth services provide vital support and opportunities to help young people tackle loneliness, and strengthening these organisations is one of the top priorities for our Belong programme. We are pleased that through the Building Connections Fund Youth strand, the Government has agreed to join us in co-funding UK Youth to lead the Belong Collective and extend support to a wider network of youth organisations. We hope this will boost opportunities for collaboration and shared learning between those with an interest in tackling youth loneliness.” Jim Cooke, Head of the Co-op Foundation

UK Youth successfully tendered for the £80,000 contract to run the Belong Collective from the Co-op Foundation.

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