Loneliness Awareness Week.
Hosted by Marmalade Trust, our annual campaign in June raises awareness of loneliness and gets people talking about it.
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Marmalade Trust is a UK charity, with a very clear mission, ‘to create a society where we recognise that loneliness exists and support each other to find new social connections’. We want to encourage people to see loneliness as a blank canvas on which they can fill their lives with new friends and experiences – and we’re here to help them do it.
Chronic loneliness is one of the biggest health concerns we face, and it’s on the rise. Nine million people in the UK – more than the population of London – are always or often lonely. But, by building our understanding of loneliness, we can help ourselves and others to manage the feeling.
Why we started Loneliness Awareness Week
In 2017 we launched a campaign to raise awareness of loneliness and get people talking about it. Now it’s an annual event and during Loneliness Awareness Week 2019, we saw over 800 events take place across the country, from wellbeing choirs and bake-offs to dog walks and a silent disco in a care home.
The campaign centres on a powerful message which resonates with many and each year Loneliness Awareness Week receives more and more attention.
Why we went digital this year
Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, instead of face-to-face events, we hosted a virtual campaign to raise awareness of loneliness. The campaign was called ‘One Less Lonely Voice’.
We are taking the ‘one’ out of loneliness, to signify one less lonely voice. We encouraged everyone to grow their understanding one conversation at a time.
How we asked everyone to get involved
There were loads of ways to get involved in the campaign, from sharing our eye-catching animations and making a pledge on Instagram to reading our Loneliness Guide and starting an open, honest conversation.
In the lead up to the week, we were blown away with the support we received from individuals, organisations and charities keen to get involved, and that momentum kept growing!
On the first day of the campaign, conversations about loneliness were happening every 2.6 seconds and our Loneliness Awareness Week hashtag was trending all day on Twitter. We reached around 271.5 million people with our campaign – all without leaving our homes.
We were invited to join Keir Starmer, Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan and some of the UK’s leading charities for a virtual coffee morning and thought-provoking discussion on loneliness.
We saw almost 20,000 charities, organisations, companies and individuals get involved online, including the Royal Family, Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, NHS trusts and all Government departments.
We made it to Bloomberg news in the US, we were interviewed on podcasts and we were on the radio every day including Talk Radio and BBC Radio 5 Live. A billboard in Piccadilly circus promoted the campaign and encouraged people to speak out and connect with each other during the coronavirus pandemic.
Royal Mail printed a Loneliness Awareness Week postmark on all stamped mail during the week. We had almost 20,000 visits to our website in the run-up to and during Loneliness Awareness Week, and thousands of individuals downloaded our eye-catching campaign graphics, read our supporter pack, or took our pledge.
We also saw countless individuals sharing their own experiences of loneliness on social media, videos, interviews and blogs. Open and honest conversations about loneliness were met with respect and praise. When individuals struggling with loneliness made direct contact with us, we were able to offer support and signpost on to sources of connection.
Spreading the word
Our need for social connection is at the heart of being human, and millions of us have experienced loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic. Living in lockdown has threatened the meaningful connections which keep loneliness at bay, but never before have we seen such a leap in societal awareness of the importance of being connected.
We are determined to keep up the momentum of conversations around loneliness and continue to promote greater understanding. During Loneliness Awareness Week this year, we didn’t spend a penny on advertising – but the campaign spread to over 271 million people because of each individual, organisation and charity who believed that our message was one worth spreading.
Looking forward to next year's campaign
We are a small charity with a big mission. Following this campaign, we feel assured that the conversation around loneliness has well and truly started, and feel immensely proud to be at the forefront of this change.
As someone wrote on social media this year: ”I didn’t know Loneliness Awareness Week was a thing. I do now and the creative minds behind this year’s campaign can chalk this year's event as a success”.
We want to keep the momentum going, continue our work in our local community and ensure that Loneliness Awareness Week 2021 is the biggest and best yet.