Loneliness Awareness Week, which takes place in June, will make loneliness everyone’s business and generate positive action to help combat it.
The week-long festival will feature talks, walks, gatherings, film screenings, tea parties and other pop-up events.
Run by the Bristol-based Marmalade Trust, the week will attempt to address the loneliness and social isolation crisis currently developing in the UK.
A spokesman said: “As social creatures we need to attend to our loneliness just as we would eat if we’re hungy. Social connections are fundamental to our daily existence and help give meaning and purpose in our lives.
“We want Loneliness Awareness Week to be an occasion where people come together and take actions to connect.”
Bristol residents, community groups, public sector organisations, schools and businesses are being encouraged to get involved, and organisers have made some suggestions.
*Get to know your neighbours; organise a street party or a picnic in your local park or community hall.
*Shared lunch; don’t eat your lunch on the go or at your desk – get together with colleagues to enjoy a shared lunch in your office space, or even eat out.
*Make some marmalade tarts, cakes or sandwiches and hold a bake sale or coffee morning.
*Call a family member or friend that you haven’t spoken to for a while.
*Disconnect to reconnect: When using public transport, put your phone, Kindle or iPod away and start up a conversation with the person sitting next to you. Small and easy gestures such as a simple smile or a hello to a stranger could make their day.
*Organise a raffle, quiz, sweepstake or talent show as a fundraiser for the Marmalade Trust, or sign up to volunteer for them – do you have a specific skill you can use?
*Come along to one of the Marmalade Trust special events
For more information see the Loneliness Awareness Week official website.
at University of Bristol Botanic Gardens