The results of research into loneliness in the communities of North-East Dartmoor show that loneliness is a challenge for all age groups, not just older people.The research was carried out over several weeks earlier this year by Wellmoor, based in Moretonhampstead, whose work covers all aspects of health and wellbeing in the North-East Dartmoor area.
“Many people associate loneliness with older people and our findings supported that view,” says Camilla Rooney, Project Manager. “But we also identified – through talking to other groups such as young mums and younger people that loneliness is a problem that affects all generations.”
Focus group-style “Listenings” took place in the Dartmoor communities of Chagford, Lustleigh, Moretonhampstead, Manaton, and North Bovey in February and March this year.
“By its nature, loneliness is very often a hidden problem. But it certainly exists, even in such friendly and welcoming communities as Moretonhampstead and the other places we visited,” says Camilla.
“All the different groups had fascinating views on loneliness and what we can all do about it. Younger people, for instance, recognised that social media could actually make people feel lonelier,” says one of the project’s researchers, Liz Gavrilenko. “Having said that, we saw that technology can also be a useful tool in combatting loneliness.”
A research report was launched at a packed public meeting in the Community Club in Moretonhampstead on Wednesday 27th June, with attendees coming from as far away as Cornwall to hear Wellmoor’s findings.
“We’re really pleased by how much interest our research has generated from groups and individuals interested in the whole topic of loneliness and what we can do about it,” says Camilla. “Moving forward, we’re actively looking for ways to share our methodology with others.”
As a result of the research, Wellmoor is now looking at ways to combat loneliness in rural communities, including the possible appointment of a Community Connector tasked with connecting individuals to local services, groups, clubs, societies and their wider community.
For information contact:
Camilla Rooney: email@example.com 01647 440775
The full report on Loneliness in North-East Dartmoor can be downloaded from the Wellmoor website: www.wellmoor.org.uk