200 people join online event seeking solutions to loneliness in Cornwall

Two hundred people joined an online conversation hosted by Cornwall Council last week to help find ways communities can best tackle loneliness and social isolation.

During the conversation people talked about what loneliness means to them and shared ideas on how to reduce loneliness in the future. Participants described the live crowdsourcing event as ‘thought provoking’, ‘valuable’, and ‘interesting’.

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Many defined loneliness as a feeling of not belonging, ‘not having anyone to talk to’, or ‘not being part of things.’ When asked what people need from others when they are lonely, many participants prioritised ‘friendship, emotional support, and social interaction’.

Most people agreed that coffee mornings and libraries are a good way of reducing loneliness, other ideas included ‘sit down yoga, childhood song sessions and pet therapy’.

The feedback will help Cornwall Council better understand the problems communities face in trying to address loneliness and isolation.

Cornwall Council’s Head of Provider Services David Coleman said: “In 2017 we asked people what they needed to stay healthy and independent. They told us loneliness and isolation were a problem.

More than two million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.” *

“People can become socially isolated for a variety of reasons, such as getting older or weaker, because they’ve left work, their spouse has died or through disability or illness. This can lead to depression and a serious decline in physical health and wellbeing, so we’re keen to look at ways to keep people well, healthy and out of hospital by starting conversations like this,” he said.

Cornwall Council Cabinet member for adults, Rob Rotchell added: “Judging by the high engagement and breadth of insights participants shared during this event, loneliness is an issue a great many people care about and want to find solutions to.”

“Loneliness is a challenging issue for Cornwall as we have an aging population and our towns and villages are geographically spread out. We hope the findings from this event and future planned focus groups will raise awareness of this important issue, and help us to join forces with communities across Cornwall to find workable, innovative solutions to loneliness that support people in their local area.”

Information from the event will now be analysed and later made available on the council’s website.

9 May 2018