Students working together to tackle loneliness

Higher education (HE) students at @cityplym hosted an event on Friday 14 February that aimed to find ways to tackle intergenerational loneliness. 


Students from the the Community and Public Services Management Foundation Degree have been learning about how loneliness can affect different groups in Plymouth and how damaging it can be for people’s health. Supported by Next Steps South West, the students partnered with Plymouth City Council to hold an event for pupils studying at Scott Medical College.


A total of 35 students from Scott College and 15 City College Plymouth students attended the forum-style event held at the Guildhall, where they were joined by representatives of the Elder Tree Befriending Service, Plymouth Raiders, Livewell Southwest, Exim Dance and the Real Ideas Organisation. After hearing a series of talks given by the representatives, the students discussed initiatives that could improve the lives of people experiencing loneliness. Their ideas included setting up skills events, working with local animal rehoming charities, and viral campaigns that encourage people to interact with those at risk of being lonely. 


Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP, Luke Pollard, joined the event to listen to some of the students’ ideas. In an address to the students, he said: “You have identified that there is a problem and you have realised that you have the power to change things.”


After the event, Luke added: “Addressing the issue of loneliness is often seen as a job for those who feel lonely, but these students have refused to believe that and have been working to build bridges across all age ranges that will benefit our community. I have been very impressed with their ideas and the enthusiasm shown for the project.”


Mary Coles, outreach worker for Next Steps South West, said: “Not only does this event aim to tackle a very serious problem, it encourages the students to develop different skills, such as collaboration and teamwork, which is one of the key aims of higher education.”


Charlotte True, manager of Next Steps South West, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this unique community event to explore ways in which the intergenerational loneliness issue can be addressed. 

 

“Together with City College Plymouth, we have collaborated with our Outreach Hub partner Plymouth City Council to give students a real opportunity to discover more about how higher education can lead to local employment opportunities in the public and third sector.”

 

If you are interested in higher education opportunities in the city, visit the Next Steps South West website https://nextstepssw.ac.uk/ or for information about the opportunities available at City College Plymouth, see www.cityplym.ac.uk.



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