Keep London Connected
Certitude’s campaign Keep London Connected shines a light on a very real issue for many people – loneliness. Despite 8.6m people living in the capital, London can feel a very lonely place. Somehow the hustle and bustle makes the loneliness more poignant. When I first arrived in London I experienced this for myself. I can still remember that feeling. Finding a job (supporting people with learning disabilities) and with it the opportunity to meet new people and make friends helped me to establish some roots and develop a sense of belonging. Some 25 years later I feel very fortunate to call London home.
Living in London can be magic but the challenges are immense. Many people I meet through my work moved to London from other parts of the country or the world. Leaving behind family, loved ones and long standing connections – the very things that contribute to our sense of safety and belonging. I hear from people with learning disabilities and mental health needs that living in the capital can be lonely and at times scary – hate-crime, mate-crime, loneliness and isolation featuring too often in too many people’s lives. The Marmot Review into health inequalities found that individuals who are socially isolated are up to five times more likely to die prematurely than those with strong social ties.
Keep London Connected is Certitude’s commitment to harnessing the talents and creativity of people to connect with and support each other. We are creating opportunities, encouraging and liberating people to share their interests and talents with others. For instance, the opportunity to meet to play a game of five a side, to debate the merits of a recent film, to share a love of cooking and eating! Certitude Community Connectors bring their passion for change to the fore and get to know what people like doing connecting them with others with similar interests. With some digital support thrown into the mix through Connect and Do, www.connectanddo.org even more tailored connecting opportunities can be found. Over time as an individuals’ confidence and self esteem grow the role of the Community Connector changes as friendships and mutual support get established. Each experience extends the network of the Community Connector too who can bring those new connections to even more people. And so, building human capital, rather like that analogy of a pebble in a pond – just watch those ripples.
Whilst loneliness and isolation are real and serious problems, the confidence gained by having friends around us and the building of strong relationships with important people in our lives can help us all be happier and healthier. So together lets Keep London Connected.
A very big thank you to everyone who has supported this campaign to date – jumping out of aeroplanes, cycling vast miles, running through mud, tweeting, donating or connecting with someone new. Your support means so much.
Aisling tweets @AislingDuffy_