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Tackling youth loneliness through hip-hop and poetry

13 June 2024

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Young people, practitioners and organisations gathered in Bristol in a bid to tackle youth loneliness.

The Belong Collective’s third hotspot saw Bristol-based professionals gather at Integrate UK in the city to identify local needs, discuss challenges and find further solutions to tackle youth loneliness.

This week is Loneliness Awareness Week, which 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.

Delegates at the Belong Collective hotspot event at Integrate UK in Bristol.

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.

Rania Hamdi, UK Youth project manager, said: “We know young people are more affected by loneliness than any other age group. This can have a short-term effect on young people’s physical and mental health as well as their educational attainment. This can also lead to long term-effects on their relationships, employability and overall life satisfaction.

“We have been running events across the country to raise awareness on youth loneliness and empowering areas to come together to collectively tackle the issue.”

Rania Hamdi, UK Youth project manager.

In Bristol, the first half of the day focused on practitioners in the field, working to explore the risk factors associated with young people at risk of isolation, discussing what loneliness might look like in 2024 and sharing best practice and possible solutions.

One delegate said: “This was a fabulous opportunity to connect with other youth work practitioners and come up with collaborative ideas “

Delegates discuss what to do when loneliness approaches at the event in Bristol.

The afternoon saw young people from Integrate UK attend workshops which explored the topic of isolation through hip-hop and poetry and posed alternative methods to helping a young person who might be feeling isolated.

A poem about loneliness by the young people in Bristol.

Afterwards, one of the young people who took part said they had learnt “How to cope with loneliness better”, adding: “It gave me hope that I’m not actually alone.”

Another said: “I learned loneliness is a feeling we can all experience and we can support each other and ask for help “

Loneliness is a feeling we can all experience and we can support each other and ask for help.

Young person at Integrate UK

Since Bristol, further events have been held in London and Blackpool, where activities have included art, drama, meditation and poetry. A further event is planned in Nottingham on Monday, June 15. 

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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