We’d like to thank everyone who came along to the ‘Loneliness Connects Us’ Youth Summit and Project Celebration events on 22nd February, at Federation. The aim of the event was to invite young people and people that work or live with them to join us in continuing to rethink how youth loneliness is represented in relation to the types of recommendations that we are able to make to open more appropriate forms of resource and relationship for young people seeking to navigate experiences of loneliness.
The summit began with a wonderful performance from Clean Break Theatre – thanks all! A work in progress, the performance explored youth loneliness through a series of scenes interspersed by dance sequences where the young women moved in flow and against one another. The performance perfectly communicated our orientation in the research that arts-based and in particular theatre practice enables young people to explore and communicate the complexity of the pain, striving and intermittent connections that young people might experience while feeling lonely.
Janet Batsleer and youth co-researcher Kurtis Angell presented our research findings – see slides below – before young people from Barnados, Off the Record, Clean Break, Fresh R&B, and the Proud Trust led world café/ living library discussions on the loneliness and connection focused projects they participate in and lead.
Following the summit, we co-hosted a project celebration with Metropolis – thanks Veronica and Kai! Cllr Rishi Shori (Leader of Bury Council, GM Lead for Young People and Social Cohesion) opened the meeting, linking the research to the significance of empowering young people to engage with issues such as youth mental health, anti-radicalisation and youth loneliness. Jim Cooke from the Co-op Foundation outlined the foundation’s plan to engage with youth loneliness through its Belong network. Simone Spray (42nd Street) then gave an overview of the severe challenges facing the youth mental health and well-being agenda in Greater Manchester.
This blog is an extended opportunity to thank all the people that made the research possible. Our roll call of honour and gratitude!
- Co-op Foundation for funding the research
- The young women from Clean Break Theatre for the wonderful performance
- Beena at Federation for support with the venue
- Ollie at Pioneer Coffee for the food and refreshments
- ITV Granada, ZDF and That’s Manchester for coming along and filming
- The young people from Barnados, Off the Record, Fresh R&B Studios, Proud Trust and Clean Break for leading group discussions.
- Claire, Sian and Rowan from More Than Minutes who drew the fabulous conference poster
- Thanks to everyone who came along and made the event possible! Thank you!
Janet Batsleer, James Duggan, Kurtis Angell and Simone Spray