What we have learned during lockdown supports future conversations, as we continue our long-term work tackling loneliness. We feature in the latest report from the Campaign to End Loneliness.

26 April 2021

Organisations which support some of the UK’s loneliest people have an important role in helping people make and develop meaningful conversations following the pandemic, according to the Campaign to End Loneliness. The Campaign recently brought together more than 90 organisations, which support people who feel isolated – often through volunteers making contact.  

Conversations through Covid-19 is a review of what these charities, councils and social enterprises learnt from helping lonely people keep conversations going through lockdown. More than two-thirds of organisations (68%) said that they had encountered issues keeping people talking. Many organisations were successfully doing a range of activities to help people start and maintain conversations from suggesting conversation openers, to providing activities to stimulate conversations.

Chris Wilkins, Co-Founder of Sporting Memories, says: “Today’s report highlights just how quickly organisations have had to adapt to keep people talking, and demonstrates that a variety of approaches can be taken.

“At Sporting Memories we have built on our work of the last 10 years, using the power of talking about and remembering sport to bring people together, provide joy and companionship, and increase well-being. Covid-19 has of course challenged us, as immediately our whole model of meeting together ‘in-person’ had to change. But rapid adaptation and imagination, along with the production of new resources, has been key.

“Everything our staff, volunteers and partners have learned over the last year will be invaluable as we to continue to reach out, and we welcome the opportunity to learn from others and to share our own experience and learning.

“The social isolation that has long existed for many people across society has been brought sharply into focus and – with the right guidance and support – organisations like those featured in today’s report will continue to encourage everyone to keep talking.”

Robin Hewings, Programme Director for the Campaign to End Loneliness, said: “Loneliness can have a major impact on our mental health and wellbeing.  Helping people who are lonely keep up conversations is an important part of tackling loneliness. The lessons learnt by charities, councils and social enterprises during this lockdown will make sure that volunteer callers and befrienders get the right support to help people who are isolated to keep up meaningful conversations now and in the future.”