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Empowerment’s BESS Service Coordinator Linzi talks about loneliness awareness week and the new BESS BUDDIES project

Loneliness does not discriminate. Anyone and everyone can feel this way regardless of who you are. Being aware of the types of loneliness can help us to understand why we might feel this way and start conversations around the subject – tackling the stigma.

The five different types of loneliness identified are:

  1. Emotional loneliness – this is when someone you were close with is no longer there. This could be a close friend or partner for example.
  2. Social loneliness – this is when you feel disconnected to the wider community. This could be work colleagues, neighbours and having few strong friendships.
  3. Transient loneliness – this is when you feel lonely at times and other times you don’t. This could be when working away if you do this often or at weekend when you have more time for yourself.
  4. Situational loneliness – this is when a situation has made you feel more lonely. External pressures from the media can indicate that you should be busy with friends and family at Christmas and if you are on your own then you may not have this, leading to feeling more lonely.
  5. Chronic loneliness – this is when you feel lonely most of the time and it is part of daily life.

The Marmalade Trust have chosen this week to create awareness around loneliness so that people can hopefully start to talk about the subject in a more positive light:

“There is absolutely no shame in feeling lonely and changing the language around loneliness is a positive and liberating step forward. The more we talk about it, the more we normalise it and we can move towards a society where it can be spoken about openly”.

Each week BESS service holds weekly friendship groups ranging from coffee and chat to knitting and themed quiz afternoons. All aimed at the general community because anyone and everyone can have feelings of loneliness – especially at this time of social distancing and uncertainty.

We often speak about feeling alone or how the group is helping to ‘break up the week’, meeting new people even if it is virtually. This is exactly what we aim to do, now and beyond Covid-19 when we will meet in person at the Empowerment base.

New to BESS is the BESS BUDDIES befriending project kindly funded by The National Lottery Community Trust. This is a small group of volunteers reaching out each week to 80 people within the community for a chat over the phone.

Service coordinator Linzi says:

I have seen a rise in the referrals from professionals who have been continuing to work in the community during the pandemic. Their clients have expressed that they feel lonely more than any other health complaint at this time. Due to time restraints and capacity on their jobs I subsequently get the referral to BESS BUDDIES.

Its amazing to work collaboratively with other professionals who recognize that loneliness is detrimental to their clients health. It might just be one phone call a week but it really is life saving to those who receive it.

To know that we will also meet people face to face when the pandemic is over is really exciting. We are a long term support.”

If you would like to volunteer for BESS BUDDIES or make a referral for support please email: linzi.cason@empowermentcharity.org.uk

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