A better Medway

Feeling lonely

Loneliness is a natural human emotion that we all experience. By building our understanding of it, we can help ourselves and others to manage the feeling.

Many of us would have experienced loneliness in some form over the last 12 months due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has isolated many friends and family members.

National Loneliness Week 2021

During National Loneliness Week, we’re highlighting a range of advice to help people who feel isolated reconnect with others, along with informing others on carrying out everyday actions that can make a difference.

Before lockdown, it was estimated that around 12,000 people across Medway were affected by social isolation. The COVID-19 restrictions over the last year have restricted socialising and isolated many of us from our friends and family.

With restrictions easing, this year can be better for all of us. If you’re feeling lonely, you do not need to be alone. We’re here to support.

Follow our @abettermedway Facebook and Twitter to follow our top tips and news to help you reconnect, as part of National Loneliness Week 2021.

See more information below about how we’re tackling loneliness in Medway.

Better connected

Our social prescribing programme helps over 65s meet new people by building up social networks.

Our programme aims to support you to:

  • engage in activities within your community
  • meet new people
  • build up your social networks.

To find out more about the service phone 01634 333 013 or visit better connected.

Face to face services

With lockdown restrictions easing, more health services are now operating in face to face settings.

COVID-secure measures are in place, including social distancing and wearing face coverings.

Phone 01634 334 800 to find a local health and wellbeing service near you.

Face to face sessions

Cycling groups

Our outdoor cycle sessions are now up and running. It’s a great way to keep fit, explore Medway and make new friends.

Find out how to sign up for cycle groups.

Men in Sheds

Men in Sheds brings together men aged 25 and over who are out of work or retired to share their DIY skills and spend time together over a cup of tea.

Phone 01634 338 600 for details or email medwaymeninsheds@sunlighttrust.org.uk.

Talking tips: connecting with your community

Although just saying hello may seem simple, our busy lives can stop us connecting with people. Age UK research has found that nationally, many older people spend 5 or more days a week without speaking to anyone.

A simple hello can be the first step towards meeting people in your community and making new friends.

Here’s some tips on how to make that first contact:

  • ask an opinion: what do you think of the weather?
  • greet someone when you hold the door open
  • ask someone for directions if you need them, rather than looking on your phone
  • ask open questions (rather than ones with a yes or no answer). This means people give a longer answer which can lead to a conversation. “What are you doing over the weekend?” is a good example
  • say hello to someone in a shopping queue
  • try something new. Attending a new event or class is a great way to meet new people to start a conversation with
  • not everyone talks back, and that’s ok. It's important to respect someone’s decision if they do not want to talk, but most people will welcome the opportunity to chat.

Play your part

You may not know but one of your friends, family members or colleagues could be experiencing loneliness.

If you have not spoken to someone in a while, make the move. It could make all the difference in helping someone overcome feelings of loneliness.

Here’s a few ideas you could follow to help you make that potentially life changing contact:  

  • go through your phonebook: is there someone you have not spoken to in a while? Send them a text and see how they’re feeling
  • send an ecard to a friend and family member you’re thinking of. It’s a great way to show someone you care.
  • challenge yourself: can you have a conversation with someone new once a week? Do you know your neighbours? What will your challenge be?
  • check on your neighbour: have an elderly neighbour or someone living on their own? Find out if they need any shopping or medicines, or just have a general check-in to see how they are
  • Volunteer: volunteering can help you feel good and chat to others. Across Medway, there are lots of clubs that you could get involved in:
    • gardening clubs
    • Men in Sheds
    • walking and cycling groups.

National Loneliness Awareness Week ecards

Let somebody know you care by sending them one of our free downloadable ecards.

A Better Medway - Together

Find other local services that can you help overcome feelings of loneliness.

More about Loneliness Awareness Week