Community events planned to help combat loneliness in Plymouth

The British Red Cross in Plymouth are holding two coffee mornings next week to tackle the issue of loneliness and social isolation in the city.

The first event takes place on Monday 2nd July at Nomony Children’s Centre, St John's Road. Coffee and cake will be served from 10am to 12pm and parents of young children, grandparents and members of the public are all welcome to attend.

The second event is on Tuesday 3rd July at The British Legion, Armada Way, from 10am to 12pm. While this event is aimed at Veterans or their families, members of the public are again welcome to come along.

Last year, the charity launched its Connecting Communities initiative in partnership with the Co-op after finding Plymouth is one of 39 areas in the UK where help is most needed.

Donna Perry, a Red Cross support worker who is organising the events, said: “I’ve done a lot of jobs over the years but I’ve always have a passion for helping people. That is why I joined the Red Cross.

“I’m planning two events next week focusing on parents – particularly young single parents who might be feeling lonely – and veterans and their families; perhaps someone who had lost a loved one who had been serving in the military.

“I’d urge anyone who might be feeling lonely or a bit isolated to join me at these events. I’m here to help and I believe our Connecting Communities service can make a big difference to a person’s life.”

Ground-breaking research by the Co-op and the Red Cross identified that becoming a young mother was one of the life-changing events that can trigger loneliness.  However, it was one of the least likely to be recognised as an at risk group by the general public.

The research shows that a staggering 82 per cent per cent of mums under 30 feel lonely some of the time while more than four in 10 (43 per cent) are lonely often or always.

The survey highlights a sense of isolation is felt most acutely by younger mothers. Almost half (49 per cent) of mothers aged between 18 and 25 are often or always lonely compared with 37 per cent who are aged between 26 and 30.

The research also shows that more than 80 per cent of mums under 30 say they meet their friends less often after having their child.

This is down to a wide range of reasons, almost six in ten (60 per cent) cited lack of money while 55 per cent said feeling tired, 47 per cent claimed they wanted to stay with their children and 38 per cent said the challenge of organising childcare was a reason why they did not go out more and socialise.

Red Cross volunteers from the Connecting Communities service offer companionship and support to adults of all ages and backgrounds, helping them meet new people and feel able to be more involved in the local area. This could be through joining community groups or activities, accessing local services, rediscovering friendships or making new ones.

All members of the public are welcome to attend the Red Cross coffee mornings next week. They are being held between 10am and 12 pm at the following venues:

Monday 2nd July: Nomony Children’s Centre,  27 St John's Rd, Plymouth PL4 0PA.

Tuesday 3rd July: The British Legion, 174 Armada Way, Plymouth PL1 1LB

Alternatively, if you’d like to find out more about the Connecting Communities service in Plymouth, you can contact Lucy Goldring, service manager, on 01209 614 926 or email LGoldring@redcross.org.uk