It can be an isolating business supporting isolated people. Does your organisation feel disconnected from others in the field? Many of the services, charities and groups across the UK that we speak to tell us that they do and that it is really helpful to meet with other like-minded organisations face-to-face, to discuss their work and to stay on top of the latest knowledge on loneliness.
To help provide more opportunities for our supporters to talk to each other, and to learn from the latest research and good practice around loneliness we are launching our Loneliness Learning Network.
What is the Learning Network?
The Learning Network is a cross-sector exchange, a hub that will germinate new ideas, answers and solutions to some of the many challenges facing those working to combat loneliness in older age.
All supporters who have signed up to the Campaign have automatically become members of this growing Network: that is over 600 organisations working with older people across the voluntary and community, local government and private sectors, from national charities to very small neighbourhood schemes.
What does it offer?
The latest research and evidence on loneliness and isolation
Put simply: we find it, read it, summarise it, draw out the implications for policy and practice and share it as widely as possible through our quarterly Research Bulletin. We also regularly invite researchers to present at our events, and film their talks.
Our Research Hub, of over 40 UK academics and researchers, supports this work by making their findings available to the Campaign, flagging up other relevant research or initiating new studies for the benefit of service providers.
Shared examples of good practice
The most practical information almost always comes from the experience and expertise of frontline organisations. We look for impactful and innovative activities or ideas for tackling loneliness that we can share – especially work that has been evaluated so that we know it is effective. See examples from local authorities, technology developers, charities and older people.
We’ve held seven workshops, roundtables and research meetings for our supporters this year. There will be two further workshops, as well as our national conference in November.
Unique, bespoke resources
As well as the briefings, workshops and publications that the Campaign produces, our learning materials offer a unique practical resource, designed to fill the particular needs of frontline organisations. We consult our Learning Network on the challenges they face and what might help before developing each new tool or guidance.
Our first Learning Network resource (due early in 2015) will be an impact measurement tool to help you demonstrate to funders how you are alleviating loneliness, and improve your service.
How to get involved
- Sign up as a supporter of the Campaign to End Loneliness. Anyone who signs up and indicates that they work for an organisation providing services to older people – or who simply wants to join – will be added to the Learning Network mailing list and receive regular updates
- Tweet us! You can find us on Twitter at @EndLonelinessUK where we share our latest news. Let us know how you’re tackling loneliness, start a debate, ask questions about the issue that you’d like to see answered or even just say hi
- Put your organisation on the map. You can let us know what you’re doing through the map on our Learning Network page. Or simply email the information to Anna. Please share your evaluations, reports or case studies with the Network: anything that backs up what you do
- Join us at an event. Book now for our next workshop, Understanding Loneliness: no man is an island, where we will be discussing how best to reach and engage older men at risk of loneliness. You can also save the date for our inaugural Learning Network annual conference on 17 November
We look forward to talking with you – learning about your organisation!