Loneliness Awareness Week aims to reduce stigma by encouraging people to talk about being lonely

Loneliness Awareness Week was started by Marmalade Trust as the first inclusive campaign to raise awareness of loneliness among everyone in the UK.

Now in its third year, the week features hundreds of events across the country, highlighting the need to talk about loneliness.

Louise Lynas, project manager, said: “It was really apparent to us that raising awareness is an important part of changing the way we think and acknowledge loneliness.

“I am so keen to get everyone involved in LAW 2019 as it is something that is close to my heart.”

Gathering for a communal walk organised by Marmalade Trust

This year’s campaign runs from June 17 to 21 and the theme is reducing the stigma around loneliness, supporting the vision to create a society where loneliness is recognised openly as something likely to affect us all.

Louise added: “This year’s campaign looks to be bigger and better than ever. We have over 300 organisations across the UK partnering with us to raise awareness, support people to find friendship by hosting events and raise money to help us do more.

“There is still time to join in. We are asking people to ‘do something’ to raise awareness of loneliness, whether it’s inviting a group of new parents together for an open picnic or having a shared lunch at work, where you can socialise and get to know each other.”

Louise was born in Wales and has worked on countless community engagement projects over the years.

She said: “What I love most is working with people and getting them involved in exciting and worthwhile projects, just like LAW 2019.”

Last year’s campaign reached four million people and 2019 is set to be bigger.

Louise said: “Nearly all of us have felt lonely at some time in our lives, I certainly know I have. I also know I have made excuses for my loneliness, I didn’t want anyone to know because I felt socially inferior.

“Why do we attach a stigma to being lonely? Our aim for LAW 2019 is to take the stigma out of loneliness. I know I am not alone in the experience of loneliness because I have since had open and honest conversations about this feeling, which I found liberating, life saving even.

“So in 2019, let’s all have that conversation, let’s be aware of others and notice who might be feeling isolated and could do with some interaction.”

At the centre of Marmalade Trust’s LAW 2019 campaign is the interactive map on its website marmaladetrust.org to let people know when and where events are taking place.

The trust will be also launching a loneliness support line during LAW 2019, having been awarded a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund.

Louise said: “The service is going to be a lifeline for many.”