If you are feeling lonely you need to establish the reason for your loneliness. You may live on your own, have experienced a relationship breakdown or may have been bereaved and are looking for ways to make new friends and improve your social life. Getting involved in voluntary work in your local community is a good way of meeting new people, finding a sense of purpose by helping others. Local hospitals are often looking for volunteers to help visit patients or run the hospital shop. Local charities are often in need of volunteers to help staff charity high street shops.
You could also think about joining any clubs and societies relating to any interests/hobbies you have e.g. If you are interested in sport find out about local clubs, if you are interested in drama and theatre find out about joining a drama group or helping out behind the scenes at a local theatre. The local library, town hall information office or local paper often keep details about clubs and societies.
If you are suffering from depression and/or mental health it may be that because of your illness you have become cut off from family/friends and have become isolated in the community. You may also lack confidence and self esteem, suffer from anxiety, and may find it difficult to make friends or socialise.
It may help talking to a counsellor in the first instance and start trying to build your confidence up slowly - talking to the local shopkeepers, staff in the post office etc. just to get yourself used to talking to people and making conversation. It may help you to find out about assertiveness or confidence building classes which are often run by the local colleges or adult education centres and have a look at the pages on the website relating to self esteem, anxiety, depression as some of the resources mentioned on these pages may be helpful to you.
Adult education centres and community centres are worth checking out to see if there are any classes you may be interested in or hobbies you could take up. You may think about taking classes learning computers or a new language.
For young people there are many clubs which meet in a friendly social atmosphere while learning a variety of new skills and helping in the local community - Scouts, Girl Guides, British Red Cross, St. Johns Ambulance, Police Cadets etc.
If you are aged between 18-35 years the National Federation of 18 Plus Groups run clubs around the country where members meet in a social atmosphere and arrange a variety of activities.
Round Tables, Rotary and Inner Wheel Clubs are also an excellent way of becoming involved in the local community and at the same time meeting new people from which friendships may evolve.
Agencies which may be useful to you
0800 678 1602
Age UK run befriending services, pairing an older person with a befriender to help provide companionship.
Association of Inner Wheel Clubs in Great Britain and Ireland (clubs for women):
020 7834 4600
51 Warwick Square, London SW1V 2AT - To promote true friendship and the development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service and the betterment of social conditions. Voluntary work includes hospital work, caring for sick, needy, handicapped, young and elderly people according to the needs of the community.
British Red Cross Society:
0344 871 1111
9 Grosvenor Crescent, London SWlX 7EJ
To provide caring and emergency service to those most in need in their local communities through some 45,000 volunteers and staff.
Friends of the Elderly:
020 7730 8263
To support older people, often frail, confused or with dementia, to maintain a level of independence and choice by providing a complete range of services for them - provides home visiting services, runs day centre facilities.
020 7834 6242
General Enquiries - 0800 999 2016 for joining information
17-19 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W OPT - Enables girls and young women to fulfil their potential to take an active and responsible role in society through stimulating and enjoyable activities. A challenging programme enabling girls and young women to explore and achieve in a supportive environment, growing in self esteem and confidence.
0800 319 6789
Independent Age provides support to older people including regular telephone calls and home visits.
Open to all women between ages of 18-45 - broaden your social life by making new friends, have fun, fundraise for local charities. Groups across the UK.
Linking Lives UK
0300 302 0225
Linking Lives UK exists to reduce social isolation and loneliness, with a particular focus on older people. This is achieved by working in partnership with churches and Christian organisations to set up befriending projects. This includes home visiting and telephone befriending.
London Wildlife Trust:
020 7261 0447
Harling House, 47-51 Great Suffolk Street, London SE1 0BS - To promote nature conservation within Greater London. Managing nearly 60 wildlife sites, running public participation surveys and other activities for the public, also junior Wildlife Watch groups throughout London.
Men's Sheds Association
0300 772 9626
Community spaces for men to connect, converse and create. They help reduce loneliness, and isolation and fun.
National Association of Women's Clubs:
To provide facilities for social life and opportunities for informal education within the means of all women. The individual clubs are self governing. Programmes include facilities for a good social life, classes and demonstrations on a variety of crafts etc. and speakers on a wide range of subjects.
National Federation of Women's Institute:
020 7371 9300
Monthly meetings, demonstrations, speakers, activities, learning experiences.
Wales: 02920 221712
National Association of Round Table of Great Britain and Ireland:
0121 456 4567
Marchesi House, 4 Embassy Drive, Calthrope Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 1TP
Association of Clubs for young men aged 18-45 years that provides a selection of social and community service related opportunities for its members. Meetings include speakers, activities, entertainment, quizzes, debates, meals.
National Women's Register:
Meet other women and make new friends, informal lunch discussion groups, social activities, quizzes, correspondence magazine, postal book group, penfriend scheme.
Work with family care-givers, people nearing the end of life, bereaved, socially isolated individuals, frail and the elderly. Information and support and The Chatterbox telephone befriending service.
Outsiders is a safe community of people across the UK who share a wide range of physical and social disabilities. Many are looking to change their lives around, make new friends, enjoy life to the full and find partners. Club membership costs £27.50 per year or £14 if not working. Please see website for full details.
National group for 18-35year olds with a programme of events and social activities with 40 branches around the country. Quest is part of Plus for over 30s.
Police Cadets (for young people): Contact local police station for details of the nearest Police Cadet Scheme.
020 3961 3300
2nd Floor, Camelford House, 87-89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TW.
Reconnections by Independent Age
With the help of their friendly local volunteers they provide companionship, encouragement and ideas to help over 65s rediscover old interests and make new friends. Currently working in Barking & Dagenham and Havering, Guildford & Waverley
Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland
Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland
Warwickshire B49 6PB
Rotary unites problem solvers in Great Britain and Ireland and across the world, transforming our communities one project at a time. Through membership of your local Rotary Club, you can turn your ideas and passion for change into action.
Royal Voluntary Service:
0330 555 0310
RVS has more than 35,000 volunteers who help support older people stay independent at home and active in their communities. It's that practical little bit of help that makes all the difference, whether at home, getting them where they want to go, bringing people together through social activities or supporting them in hospital. Their aim is to provide the support that enables older people to live independent and fulfilled lives. (Find details of your local RVS through the website)
SA-UK (Social Anxiety UK): www.social-anxiety.org.uk - Volunteer led organisation, news, advice, info, meetings, chatroom, forums, support/social groups, info on cognitive behavioural therapy.
0345 300 1818
Gilwell Park, Bury Road, Chingford, London E4 7QW - To promote the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential. Non formal personal and social education through outdoor adventure. Creative activities and community service.
0800 470 8090
Free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to people aged 55 and over. Open 24 hours a day every day of the year. Offer friendship and advice, link callers to local groups and services, offer regular befriending calls, protect and support those who are suffering abuse and neglect. .
SPICE UK: 0161 873 8788, email firstname.lastname@example.org, www.spiceuk.com - UK’s largest multi activity, adventure, sports and social group. Adventure group for ordinary people who want to do extraordinary things. Activities each month, subscription charge.
St. John Ambulance:
The uniformed members of St. John Ambulance operate worldwide as unpaid volunteers who save lives, care for the sick and injured and relieve suffering. They operate coastal and river patrols, assist in hospitals and with many community social services for the sick, disabled and lonely. Cadet divisions for 10-16 year olds and the Badgers for children aged 6-10 year olds.
St. Vincent de Paul Society:
St.Vincent de Paul Society Northern Ireland - 028 9035 1561
9 Larcom Street Walworth London SE17 1RX
To support the needy and marginalized by person to person contact. Activities include helping the elderly, sick, unemployed, lonely, bereaved.
For women aged over 45 with a focus on making friends, enjoying programme of interesting and fun activities. Groups across the UK.
The University of the Third Age (U3A)
Tel: Head Office 020 8466 6139
An organisation which provides life enhancing and life changing opportunities. Retired and semi retired people come together to organise and provide interest groups in accordance with the wishes of the membership. Over 300 different subjects provided in branches throughout the UK including history, computing, photography, music, crafts, art, walking.
Information, advice, research on loneliness
Do-it.org makes it easy for anyone to volunteer in their community. With their UK wide database of over 50,000 opportunities to volunteer you will find a cause or activity that matters to you.
All of us can experence loneliness at some point in our lives, but research shows many of us don't feel able to talk about it, as we are worried that we will be judged in some way. Site includes tips, advice, local support, toolkit and resources.
Sign up to find meet ups in your local area, most events/activities are either free or low cost.
The place to make new friends, activities across the UK.
Site for young people 16-25 who wish to do voluntary work.
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