Loneliness is now recognised as among one of the major threats to health and wellbeing of the 21st century. The Feelgood Factory is developing a range of programmes to combat this threat.
Why does it matter?
- The impact of social isolation on mortality is comparable with the major risk factors for dying prematurely (smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity and obesity).
- Social isolation increases the risk of people entering institutional care.
- Social isolation increases use of health and social care services. For example rehospitalisation following discharge is 4-5 times more likely amongst those who are socially isolated.
What does the evidence say?
Group activities achieve better outcomes and those with an arts, educational learning or social focus are most beneficial.
The Feelgood Factory runs a menu of successful programmes.
Feelgood Friday – This is a 16-week programme of tasters for people who have not been getting out much and have become stuck in a bit of a rut. During the programme those attending will be helped to move on to other activities at the end of the run.
GAS—The Good Afternoon Social Group meets every Thursday afternoon in the Feelgood Factory. GAS is an opportunity to meet people in a relaxed environment, to chat and share ideas and, from time to time, to go on visits to places of interest.
Feelgood Learning—Are you interested in learning new things in the company of others? Feelgood Learning is an informal group that meets every Wednesday afternoon and looks at a range of topics in a relaxed but mentally stimulating way. Subjects are chosen by group members and we then use literature, history, art and music or computers to explore them further.
Feelgood Craft—If you enjoy making things and using your hands creatively, then you will enjoy our crafting group which takes place every Monday afternoon. No skills are necessary and help will be given where necessary.
One-to-one initiatives (e.g. befriending) are effective in certain circumstances.
The Feelgood Factory’s Befriending Scheme exists to improve the lives of people who cannot leave their own homes. A befriender is a trained volunteer who can:
- Come to your home and have a chat and a cuppa with you once a week.
- Arrange to go out with you to libraries or places that you will find of interest.
- Go with you to medical appointments
- Be with you for at least 6 months.
Participatory initiatives are most effective.
In addition to the provision of groups we actively promote volunteering opportunities as a way of dealing with loneliness.We appreciate that this can be a big step to take so we provide support wherever desirable.