By Nick Crofts, Co-op Foundation CEO

The Co-op Foundation is incredibly proud to announce the launch of our Lonely Not Alone campaign today, and we hope it helps young colleagues from across Co-op.

We create Lonely Not Alone in partnership with young people, including Co-op Academy students. The aim is to tackle the stigma of youth loneliness so young people can feel more confident talking about the issue, take steps to reduce their loneliness and support their own mental wellbeing. 

This year’s campaign is encouraging young people aged 25 and under to share one small step that’s helped them tackle loneliness on the Lonely Not Alone website. We hope that by sharing stories, young people will better understand loneliness, see they’re not alone and find new ways to tackle the problem.

Check out our website today to read the first few submissions from our young co-designers and partners. We’ll gradually be adding more in the coming weeks. You might be lonely, but you’re not alone.

A star-studded website

We’ve been running Lonely Not Alone since 2019. Previously, we’ve asked everyone to wear yellow socks in solidarity with lonely young people. Watch this video to find out why.

This year, we want to connect young people through shared experiences. 

Our young co-designers said the night sky reflected their feelings of loneliness. Vast. Empty. Cold. But within this night sky, we’re actually all stars shining bright and fierce.

That’s why our website has been rebuilt as a digital universe with young people’s stories added as shining stars. Young people can scroll around the universe, click on stars and read about what it’s like to be young and lonely. They can submit their own stories too.

Anyone who submits a story will be added to a constellation that reflects their feelings of loneliness. Our Trailblazing Unicorn constellation is actually Pegasus if you look out at the sky tonight. It will soon be full of stories from young people who are lonely because they feel different from their peers. 

Supporting mental wellbeing

Research we shared last month showed the importance of tackling youth loneliness. We found that there are currently 1.9m chronically lonely young people in the UK – 400,000 more than a year ago. Of these, 85% say loneliness negatively affects their mental wellbeing.

We passionately believe that Lonely Not Alone can make a positive impact on these findings alongside the Co-op’s own work promoting better mental wellbeing within its vision of Co-operating for a Fairer World.

I hope young colleagues are able to visit Lonely Not Alone in the coming days to read stories from their peers and potentially add their own 

Talking about loneliness may feel like a small step but it’s actually a giant leap.

The universe goes on forever. Loneliness doesn’t have to.

Show your support on Twitter or Instagram

You can also sign up to the Co-op Foundation blog to find out more about what we’re doing to help people challenge inequality and co-operate for change so they can share a fairer future.