A friend IN NEED
WOMAN'S WEEKLY|October 13, 2020
A friend IN NEED
Loneliness is a serious problem that has increased since lockdown – but befriender
KIM WILLIS

Loneliness is thought to be as bad for your health as smoking, and can increase your risk of dementia, heart disease and depression. Half a million older people can go at least five days a week without seeing anyone – but it’s not just older people experiencing loneliness.

According to the Office for National Statistics, adults aged 16-24 reported feeling lonely more often than those in older age groups. Almost half of UK university students (46%) felt loneliness as they adjusted to leaving home.

If you’re feeling lonely, you are not alone. Across the UK, charities are promoting connection and wellbeing in the community. Here, we meet readers who have found friendship through befriender schemes.

‘It’s a bonding experience’

Alison Jane , 36, is studying for a PhD. She lives with her partner in Newcastle.

When an email popped up from Newcastle City Library promoting the Reading Friends scheme, I thought it sounded like a lovely way to do something good for someone who might not have the opportunity to share their love of books with anyone. Reading is more fun when you can discuss your thoughts with someone who’s read the same book.

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October 13, 2020