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asphaleia Attends London Borough of Bromley’s Loneliness Summit

On Friday 21st of June, the final day of National Loneliness Week, our IV Coordinator joined many other organizations at the Civic Centre in Bromley to discuss the issue of loneliness in the borough. Leader of the Council, Colin Smith expressed how this is a national issue and is increasingly being recognised as significantly detrimental to the health and well-being of the millions affected in the UK.

Who is affected and why does it matter?

Those affected can include us all at different times in our lives. Loneliness can be triggered by moving home, losing a loved one, losing a job, becoming a parent, long-term illness, and other events in life. The cohorts that Bromley’s summit were concerned with in particular were; the elderly, new mums, and care leavers.

The third cohort are of particular concern to us at asphaleia, as across our services we work with young people aged 16-24, many of whom are or have been in care. They are a cohort who perhaps aren’t immediately thought of when it comes to loneliness but research done by Coram Voice in 2018 revealed that 1 in 5 care leavers (19%) reported being lonely ‘often/always’. The same report indicated that 23% of care leavers had low well-being.

Many of the young people we work with are unaccompanied asylum seekers who are extremely isolated at first and often in the long-term as they leave care and potentially the network of friends, housemates and staff who were supporting them. It is important that we all understand the impact of loneliness and look for opportunities to help isolated people in our communities.

loneliness doesn't discriminate

The late Jo Cox worked to raise awareness of loneliness during her time as MP in Yorkshire. The cross-party commission she initiated has now led to a loneliness minister being appointed. 

What can be done?

Our IV Coordinator took part in the workshop discussing loneliness in care leavers and how organisations can work together to respond. ‘It was a privilege to have a care leaver with us who so helpfully articulated the needs and causes of loneliness for this cohort. All the people in the room representing organisations from across the borough could see the potential benefits of inter-generational projects that could help both young and old feel less isolated.’

We run the Independent Visiting service for Bromley and this service provides an adult befriender who visits a young person, taking them out to do activities and build a friendship. Young people can keep their Independent Visitor if both wish to continue when they leave care. It is important to raise awareness of this service among young people in care so this relationship can potentially be in place and established for when they leave care.

How you can help

In order to fulfill the need, we require more volunteers from different cultures and backgrounds, and are currently recruiting. Please click here to find out more. As was communicated at the summit, we can all do our bit to help and perhaps yours could be sharing our recruitment posts on social media or recommending the role to a friend. Thank you, it is much appreciated.

Volunteer opportunity Bromley asphaleia care services

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