Written by Lauren Lonergan, Administration Volunteer at KindaKafe, Norwich

Loneliness Awareness Week (17th - 21st June) may be only two years old (it was launched in 2017) but it's already had a huge impact on our community. At some point in their life, most people are likely to have felt lonely and isolated - whether it was when you were a child or more recently. According to a study by The Co-op and the British Red Cross, over 9 million people in the UK across all adult ages – more than the population of London – are either always or often lonely. Norwich was named as one of the UK’s worst cities for loneliness in 2017, where more than one in two people said they had felt the effects of loneliness at some point, and 73% saying they had suffered with it for more than six months.

KindaKafe Norwich, as some of you may know, try to combat loneliness and social isolation by bringing people together. During the Loneliness Awareness week our community cafe held many events including a Women’s Care & Share coffee morning on Monday 17th and free hand massages by Ani from Lizard Therapies. The week was a great success with new faces to the cafe joining in with the fun and meeting other people. 

During the week, special homemade cupcakes (that were delicious by the way and were sponsored by Better Together Norfolk - a new service working to combat loneliness and social isolation in Norfolk) were given to groups or individuals who participated in the various activities. The cakes went down a treat with everyone who had one - no surprises there!

On Thursday 20th, members of The Bridge Social Group and The Artist Gathering were asked to decorate paper bags with pictures or words relating to loneliness and social isolation. The bags were for our partners at Better Together Norfolk, who on Friday 21st gave them out to people at Norwich Food Cycle containing tea and biscuits. Colour filled the once blankness of the paper bags with images of the sun, flowers, smiley faces, along with inspiring and uplifting quotes with one being “imagine a world without loneliness” (inspired by John Lennon’s 1971 song 'Imagine').

Overall the week was a success with people attending the free events and joining in the fun and more importantly meeting new people and trying something different. 

To find out more about the different community groups and activities on offer at KindaKafe visit Meetup or download a list here.

Do you have an idea for a group or activity that will help combat loneliness and social isolation? We may be able to offer you free or subsidised room hire at our city centre community cafe! For more information contact Tom Gaskin on 01603 850309 or email: [email protected]