Belong Collective – tackling youth loneliness

11 June 2024

  • Blog

Loneliness Awareness Week, which runs until June 16, aims to address the issues around loneliness.

Launched by Marmalade Trust, a UK Loneliness charity, it aims to highlight how loneliness can affect our mental health. This year’s theme is ‘Random Acts of Connection’ improving and encouraging ways for people to connect with others to combat loneliness.

Youth loneliness is a prevalent, long-standing challenge affecting young people’s childhoods right now. According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, almost one in 10 young people aged 16-29 report feeling lonely often or all the time, while 82 per cent of youth workers have said loneliness affects young people they work with.

Almost one in 10 young people aged 16-29 report feeling lonely often or all the time.

Youth loneliness has been worsened by the Covid pandemic and again by the cost-of-living crisis – in March 2023, more than a third, 36 per cent, of young people surveyed by UK Youth said they are now more lonely as they reduce their social life to save money.

A youth worker with Youth Moves said: “Some young people didn’t realise they were lonely until they got out again.”

Some young people didn’t realise they were lonely until they got out again.

Youth Moves youth worker

UK Youth is proud to be a leading partner in the Belong Collective, which is focused on tackling youth loneliness.

The collective is an ever-growing national network of young people, youth workers and other professionals which improves cross-sector working, influences policy making and also provides support to  practitioners – many of whom often feel ‘alone’ when trying to support young people who are lonely.

Among the “incredible” work of young people though the collective is an award-nominated short film, Belonging, created by young people in the North East. Since the film, which was nominated for a Smiley Charity Film award, the young people have gone on to create more short films on young people’s experiences of loneliness, with the support of Youth Focus: North East.

A UK Youth spokesperson said: “The young people’s ideas and opinions which fed into the set-up of this project have developed their confidence and passion for the work in this area.

“It has now become a network in its own right and young people’s ideas and work from the Belong Collective events feed into the succeeding events and  they are invited to be part of this work as we continue to develop. This ensures young people’s opinions and experiences are at the heart of our work as we move forwards. It also ensures inclusivity as it provides some flexibility in how young people can engage with this vital work.”

The Belong Collective vision:

About UK Youth

UK Youth is a leading charity with a vision that all young people are equipped to thrive and empowered to contribute at every stage of their lives. With an open network of more than 8,000 youth organisations and nation partners; UK Youth reaches more than four million young people across the UK and is focused on unlocking youth work as the catalyst of change that is needed now more than ever. To find out more, visit ukyouth.org 

UK Youth is involved in a range of programmes designed to help young people thrive, such as outdoor learning, physical literacy, social action and employability, including Hatch, a youth employability programme run in partnership with KFC. For more on UK Youth’s programmes, see ukyouth.org/what-we-do/programmes

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