Trafford College students help combat pandemic loneliness

Trafford College students help combat pandemic loneliness

Foundation Learning students at Trafford College, Altrincham, have created a series of stories, poems, letters, cards and pieces of art in an attempt to combat loneliness in Trafford.

Each year, during Global Entrepreneurship Week, foundation learning students create a business initiative to help raise money for local people in need. Last year a charity event was organised for children spending Christmas in hospital, and students appealed for individuals to participate by offering donations of Christmas books, DVDs and video games, as well as Christmas lights and decorations to help the hospital wards look cheerful and festive.

Unfortunately, due to restrictions around the ongoing pandemic, students were unable to plan any events that involve excessive contact with staff and fellow students, and so the idea to launch a charitable enterprise initiative from the safety of their classroom was suggested.

When the first lockdown occurred earlier this year, learners at the college were moved by the plight of people living alone who were feeling disconnected from their community and were suffering with extreme isolation. Therefore during the second lockdown, or Lockdown 2.0 as the students renamed it, they decided to try and reach out to these people.

Students are now preparing to deliver their heartfelt messages and creations to individuals struggling with loneliness who are in isolation as a result of mental health concerns or illness, as well as the elderly and vulnerable in their local communities. The first recipients will include individuals from St Alban's Church parish in Broadheath and St Vincent's parish, as well as deliveries via carers in the community.

In return, adults in isolation have also been sending poems to students in an attempt to reach others in similar situations and help them learn to handle the feelings they're experiencing.

According to a survey this week by Age UK, thousands of older people face a loneliness epidemic this Christmas. The charity warned that almost one in four of those surveyed are most worried about lacking company this festive season as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, which would mean they cannot see family or friends.