It’s Mental Health Awareness Week from the 9th-15th May, and this year’s theme is ‘loneliness’. We recently asked four of our younger neighbours – Hanneke, Michael, Hannah, and Caterina – about their motivations to join Liverpool Cares, how they've felt building meaningful connections through our programmes, and how they've overcome their own feelings of loneliness.
What motivated you to sign up to Liverpool Cares?
Hanneke: “I was getting a bit too housebound and lonely, and I thought it would be a good way to meet new people of all ages.”
Caterina: “I was looking for something to be able to help someone, but at the same time to enjoy, doing different things and meeting new people.”
Michael: “I was motivated to join Liverpool Cares after I saw a group of you abseiling off the Cathedral a couple of weeks after I moved to Liverpool! I moved up here without knowing anyone in the city so it seemed like a great way to meet people and fight my own loneliness.”
How does connecting with older and younger neighbours through Liverpool Cares make you feel?
Hanneke: “Like I accomplished something. And it's nice to be part of a community.”
Hannah: “It does feel great when you feel that you have been able to support someone with something, like at Technology Workshops. I remember helping a neighbour join a local history group and share some photos on Facebook, and she could not believe that she'll now be able to connect with so many other people who shared her passion - it was humbling and a joy to be a part of!”
How has Liverpool Cares encouraged you to build meaningful connections?
Michael: “I enjoy the tech sessions because I can see how much of a difference I makes. Being able to help older neighbours gives me a buzz. To know that what I do helps others is awesome.”
Hannah “Having just left university when I moved to Liverpool, I had always taken for granted having meaningful connections around me, as it seemed so easy and natural when I was a student. While I could go a visit friends and family and catch-up with people over the phone. Liverpool Cares made me realise the value in meeting people locally who also want to connect and try new things.”
Do you have any tips to offer people to overcome their own feelings of loneliness?
Caterina: “You are not alone. The key is not to keep yourself isolated. As soon as you go out and talk with someone, you will feel immediately better. Talking with someone is therapeutic, sometimes you have even just met this person, but you feel the connection and all your loneliness flies away. I believe that getting involved in new activities, trying to overcome fears and do something out of the routine will help to avoid feelings of loneliness.”
Michael: “You could find groups that are based around your hobbies/interests and join them. You'll meet like-minded people who may become new friends.”
Hanneke: “Reach out to someone - that's the first step, and it's a big one.
Describe your experience so far with Liverpool Cares so far:
Caterina: “Grateful and a wonderful experience.”
Hanneke: “Absolutely brilliant!”
Hannah: “Inclusive and joyful!”
There are ways that you can help lift feelings of Ioneliness and isolation that will improve your mental health. These include volunteering or joining a group, doing things you enjoy such as exercise or listening to music and also by helping others. More information about looking after your mental health can be found on the Every Mind Matters website.
Want to get involved with what we do?
If you’re over the age of 18 and would like to volunteer as a younger neighbour with us, sign up to our next induction on June 8th.
Once you've attended you will have access to up to 15 free social clubs each month you'll meet neighbours from across the city who come together to hang out, chat and enjoy cool activities together.
You can also speak to Rachael Treacher, Senior Outreach and Volunteer Programme Coordinator by calling 0151 659 1789 (option 1) or emailing her to find out more.
Posted by Rachael Treacher on Wednesday 11th May 2022
Rachael Treacher is the Senior Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at Liverpool Cares: she manages our community network of younger and older neighbours.