The Great London Friendship Project
The project was set up back in November 2021 in response to the growing epidemic of loneliness amongst young adults in the capital.
We also established the project because as you may know, statistics show that despite links between loneliness and old age – it is actually young people that are by far the most disproportionately affected by loneliness.
In fact, young adults between the ages of 16-34 are over five times as likely to struggle with chronic loneliness than those over 65, and nearly 60% of young people now report to experience loneliness as part of their daily lives.
These issues are particularly pronounced in a big city like London (that was recently named the loneliest city in the UK) and were made significantly worse by the pandemic and the disruption it caused to social lives and the social fragmentation caused by years of social distancing.
In fact, the US Surgeon General announced in May that loneliness is now at epidemic levels and that it should be considered the next major health issue, given its serious impact on mental health and known health implications, said to be as damaging as 15 cigarettes a day.
To counteract the growing epidemic of loneliness and the considerable impact it can have on mental and physical health, we host a range of weekly free or low-cost activities, day trips and social walks across London.
These are designed to help our members meet new people, experience the very best of London and rebuild their social circles, without adding to the cost of living crisis that often worst affects young adults.
Since 2021, we have hosted over 300 events and witnessed 1,000s of friendships blossom as a result of the project’s work, and in just 2 years – our membership has grown to over 35,000 young adults.
Alongside this, we also provide a range of online “clubs” or community chats designed to connect our community with those with similar interests (e.g. travel, fitness, concerts etc.) and empower them as they look to organise their own activities and hangouts.
The project has been featured in the iPaper and London Live, and we’ve built strong links with a huge range of health and mental health bodies, charities and social prescribers to reach those most in need.
We also campaign for greater awareness around loneliness amongst young adults, seeking to tackle the stigma and facilitate a national conversation that will help more young adults feel safe to talk and seek support about their experience of loneliness.
Ealing Broadway, The Broadway, London, UK