The Co-Op Foundation are delighted to announce that two of the Belong partners will lead exciting projects to strengthen how the youth sector tackles loneliness.

National youth charity, UK Youth, and the National Youth Partnership, led by Youth Focus: North East, have been awarded contracts to deliver work that will strengthen local services that provide vital support and opportunities for young people.

Who’s doing what?

UK Youth will lead the newly-launched Belong Collective. This will take the work to share learning and best practice about youth loneliness to the next level.

Oxfordshire Youth will be attending the first meeting this month.

Youth Focus: North East will lead the National Youth Partnership to deliver resources that will help youth workers get better at recognising and tackling loneliness. Also part of the National Youth Partnership are delivery partners Youth Focus: North West, Yorkshire and Humber Youth Work Unit, Partnership for Young London, Youth Focus: West Midlands, Youth Focus South West C.I.C, Gill Millar (consultant), and the National Youth Agency.

This follows research from UK Youth who presented their findings at our youth work conference in February this year.  It found that found 87% of youth workers would value more support to address the issue.  Teams will work with local organisations to make sure resources are relevant and useful, particularly for smaller grassroots youth groups.

If you have any ideas about what the resources should include, let us know and we will feed this up to Youth Focus.

What next?

Eighty per cent of young people say a fear over other people’s reactions is a barrier to talking about loneliness. This needs to change.

A new campaign is coming later this year, co-designed with young people, to tackle the stigma of youth loneliness – another key aim of our Belong programme. Watch this space.

OY’s next conference looking at how youth workers address key issues that young people face, will be held on the 9th November.