Creative Support’s local support centre in Tower Hamlets (London) is tackling loneliness:
After numerous summer activities, they are now taking part in two research projects on loneliness. John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets supports the projects: “We wanted to engage the community about what makes people lonely, or not lonely, in Tower Hamlets."
It is increasingly recognised as a serious health concern having a detrimental impact on health and wellbeing, affecting people of all ages.
To gain more insight into loneliness in Tower Hamlets and ways of tackling it, the council commissioned two projects:
- The ‘Community Perspectives on Loneliness Project’ sought to explore views. Twenty volunteers were trained in a community research technique to find out over 600 residents’ thoughts and experiences of loneliness from a wide range of backgrounds and ages.
- The ‘Action on Loneliness in Care Homes Project’ piloted a volunteer programme in care homes by sensitively matching volunteers with residents to nurture meaningful relationships.
Creative Support's Tower Hamlet centre focusses on people with support needs and learning disabilities. Over the last few weeks, they have organised a doubled skydive which raised £500. They regularly organise bake sales, take part in London Pride and organise trips for the service users throughout the city. Lately, they have explored street art on segway scooters and visited the Stepney City Farm:
Here, farm animals are part of the Furry Tales programme. Members of the group who have experienced social isolation come weekly to visit rabbits, goats and donkeys as part of an animal-assisted therapy. In a recent interview with Channel 4, volunteer Jane explained the positive impact: "Animals provide non-judgmental, unconditional companionship; stir memories and stimulate conversations.”
Now, the Tower Hamlets care facility wants to engage more in social research on loneliness: As local participants highlighted: “If you go to the doctor you get a pill for a headache, a cream for your skin, but you can’t get anything for loneliness.”
After the interviews with the participants, the Tower Hamlets team complemented the reports by producing a video to summarise the learnings.