Five students from Co-op Academy Swinton have helped to co-design a national campaign to beat the stigma of youth loneliness.
Finlay Myers, aged 12; Emily Bate aged 12; Taylor Lomas, aged 13; Claire Muhlawako Madzura, aged 15; and Elorm Fiavor aged 15 were among nine young people who worked with specialist youth co-design agency, Effervescent, to create ‘We are lonely, but not alone’. Runshaw College student Abeer Abdul Aziz, 17, is another of the young creatives.
The campaign launches today and encourages everyone to wear yellow socks to show they care about youth loneliness. Supporters can then post a picture of themselves online using #LonelyNotAlone.
People are invited to get involved whenever and wherever they like. Every time someone wears yellow socks, they’ll show young people everywhere that youth loneliness matters.
Young people chose yellow socks as their campaign idea because the colour reminded them of hope, while the semi-hidden nature of socks reflected what loneliness felt like for them.
The Co-op Academy Swinton students also helped to create characters for an animation that reflect how they feel lonely. Characters include a unicorn, who feels different, and a ‘crocoduck’ – a duck that pretends to be a crocodile to fit in with others. The animation is narrated by 15-year-old Mia Povey, from Middlesbrough. Watch this and more at www.lonelynotalone.org from 23 September.
‘We are lonely, but not alone’ is launched as research finds only 26% of young people are confident talking about loneliness, and even less (23%) believe society treats it as a serious social issue. Researchers spoke to 2,044 young people aged 10 to 25 years old UK-wide and also found that less than a third (31%) would be comfortable asking for help if they felt lonely.
Jim Cooke, Head of the Co-op Foundation, said: “Loneliness is a feeling we can all relate to, but few of us realise that young people are affected more than any other age group. ‘We are lonely, but not alone’ has been created by young people for young people to tackle the stigma of youth loneliness and help us all to show we care. Get involved today to help young people everywhere see that youth loneliness matters and that even if they do feel lonely, they are not alone.”
Taylor, 13, said she wanted to get involved due to feeling different from other young people her age: “‘We are lonely, but not alone’ has made me realise that if someone is lonely, you don’t just walk past them – you ask if they are okay, or you see if they want to spend time with you. This project has really developed my confidence. I have realised through this process that I am lovable and wonderful, after all, and that has helped me to find deeper and better friendships at school. I now have some great friendships with people.”
‘We are lonely, but not alone’ is funded by the Co-op Foundation and government. It builds on the Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign.