Loneliness is one of those things that many of us assume happens to someone else

15 April

Of course, all of us have felt pangs of loneliness at some time or another but if you’ve been lucky enough to have family and friends around you all your life then you may not realise how desperate every day existence can feel without that.

Loneliness is something that can affect anyone, whether young or old, and with our sense of community diminishing and more of our lives moving into the online world it’s no surprise that more people feel lonely every day. Helping people combat this awful feeling is such an easy thing to do, no matter how much or how little time you have.

Be a good neighbour

If you live on a street where you know someone is living alone, why not drop in for a cup of tea. Even just 30 minutes a week may not make much difference to your life but it could mean everything to someone who is very isolated. If you see people you know or recognise in and around your area, acknowledge them and say hello – be friendly and stop for a chat instead of rushing off.

Join a ‘Befriending’ group

Many charities around the UK offer the opportunity to provide friendship to someone who is lonely. It’s amazing the difference you can make, by just offering your time and a supportive ear and it costs nothing to spend an hour with someone in need of a friend. Charities, such as Age UK, the Samaritans and Community Support Volunteers, run programs through which you can befriend someone near you, who may be lonely and become an active member of your local community, at the same time.

Stay in touch with your friends and relatives

How often do you call those in your life, who may not have much of a support network? Isolated young people or those who are elderly and alone need to feel they are still part of someone else’s life and all you have to do to open that channel of communication is by giving them a call. Sometimes, when you’re lonely, it’s hard to make the first move and ask for help or contact so reach out first and surprise them.

Volunteerlocally

Find out where your local retirement home is and ask if there’s anything you can do to help those in the home – or the community. That could be assisting people to get to hospital visits, spending time with them, giving them a hand with chores or just having a cup of tea – the simple things make more of a difference than you might realise.