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Newcastle students launch a charity to combat loneliness

Written by News, Uncategorised

Newcastle University students Chris Andrews and Ee Ngeyu have established a new charity, Friends In Isolation, a conversational helpline set up to combat the loneliness which is felt by many during lockdown. According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, 9 million people in the UK suffered from loneliness before the coronavirus outbreak, a number that is therefore expected to be much higher during this this period of self-isolation.

Medical students Chris and Ee took the initiative to establish the charity following the cancellation of their placements, which left them with newfound spare time. They hope to provide some much-needed human interaction through the means of phone conversations, and hopefully form some emotional connections during these difficult times.

Chris commented, “Everybody tends to get lonely every now and then. Contrary to popular belief, people aged 16-24 tend to be the worst hit by the loneliness bug, breaking the stereotype of how ‘only old people can feel lonely.’ Studies have demonstrated the negative effects of loneliness on one’s emotional, mental, and ultimately physical health, hence highlighting the need to nip loneliness at the bud.”

The Friends In Isolation phone lines are staffed by a team of volunteers, mostly made up of Newcastle University students, who wanted to do their share in reducing the impact of loneliness on the people. They have undergone intensive training in their communication skills in order to provide their users with a safe and comfortable space to talk about anything. Their phone line went live earlier this month, and they have subsequently been featured on BBC Radio Newcastle.

Chris and his team are now looking to reach out to communities who might be of benefit from this conversational line and hope to extend their services to care homes and NHS Hospitals in their local areas.

If you are feeling lonely or know of anyone who might need someone to talk to, you can call Friends In Isolation at 01916 620 120 for a little bit of human connection. The Friends In Isolation line is open from 9am to 6:30pm on weekdays.

Email hello@friendsinisolation.org to learn more about volunteering with them.

Last modified: 2nd June 2020

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