Dealing With Loneliness

Loneliness and Isolation

Together in Sussex works in partnership with others organisation to help ease isolation and loneliness and across Sussex.

Everyone needs friendship and conversation. Yet we know that loneliness and social isolation are real issues for lots of people in the UK – of all ages. And the number of people who describe themselves as lonely is growing every year.

Together in Sussex can help churches to set up Community Wellbeing cafe and Hear Here clinic, to help tackle loneliness in our communities. We work in partnership with organisations listed below who are a source of information and support.

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Places of Welcome

Places of Welcome is a partnership of Near Neighbours, the Together Network and CUF. Places of Welcome are run by local community groups who want everyone in their neighbourhood to have a place to go for a friendly face, a cup of tea and a conversation if and when they need it.

With over 600 across the UK, each Place of Welcome is unique but all provide a place for people to connect with one another, find belonging and offer gifts and skills that interest them. Places of Welcome take place in a variety of different venues including churches, community centres, libraries, mosques, temples and other community group buildings across the UK.

Joining the POW network does not cost anything, and usually does not mean you need to do anything different. If you are a place of worship or other public space, there is a high chance that you already offer something that means you are eligible to call your space a Place of Welcome.

To be a Place of Welcome, your location must meet all the criteria of their 5 values:

Place: An accessible and hospitable building, open at the same time every week
People: Open to everyone regardless of their circumstances or situation, and staffed by volunteers
Presence: A place where people actively listen to one another
Provision: Offering free refreshments (at least a cup of tea and a biscuit) and basic local information
Participation: Every person will bring talents, experiences and skills that they may be willing to share locally

So, if you already offer something like a coffee morning or an afternoon tea club you will just continue doing what you do - but you can join our network, making yourself more accessible and helping more people to feel safe to connect, belong and contribute! If you are interested in finding out more click the hyperlink here for their website. You can also find their sign-up form to join the network here.

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Time To Talk

Time To Talk are a charity motivated to honour and respect older people, providing services which are proven to overcome loneliness and social isolation. Since their foundation in 2013 they have helped over 2000 local older people to “feel like I’m in the world again”. Time To Talk pride themselves on building trusted relationships and bringing people together to create a sense of belonging. Time To Talk offer a range of services and are carrying out a number of projects to help battle loneliness in the UK.

"Thanks to the volunteer support of retired health and social care professionals, we capture satisfaction data and insights from our scheme members and volunteers through regular reviews. These responses are monitored on a monthly basis to identify gaps in provision and areas for growth and development. ​

We are committed to learning from the experiences of older people and, working with organisations such as the University of Sussex, carry out extensive research projects, which can be downloaded here.

We share our research both locally and nationally, and hope that our findings can help to shine a light on the challenges faced by many older people."

Would you like to learn more? Check out their website here.

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Befriended is a charity born out of a desire and passion for making a difference in the lives of lonely, isolated older people living in Mid Sussex. They have been a registered Charity, since 2017, and offer a range of services include face to face befriending, care and residential home visits by their chaplaincy team, community events, monthly afternoon teas, bereavement courses, and Befriended Balance; a weekly exercise class for the over 65s.

"In 2023 Befriended hosted over 1000 older people for afternoon tea, held over 40 exercise classes, journeyed with over 100 through bereavement courses, delivered chaplaincy to over 1000 people in their care homes, taken 126 to theatre trips & outings, launched a new weekly community choir with over 40 regular attendees, started a grief café in two venues and we finished the year by hosting over 80 for Christmas lunch!"

If you are interested in referring somebody or volunteering on one of Befriended's services, please check out their website for more details.

Note- the criteria for being referred to their Befriending scheme is:

- Over 65 years old
- Limited or no family or friends who visit regularly
- Lonely and spend a lot of time alone
- Able to form a friendship and maintain a conversation
- Living in Mid Sussex


Together Co

Together Co is a charity based in Brighton and Hove. Their purpose is to create connections to change lives to reduce social isolation and loneliness in the city and beyond. Together Co has adopted three main services to carry out their work: befriending, social prescribing and consultancy.

Through the befriending scheme, they match people by considering their backgrounds and interests – and they will tell you some basic things about each other to help you both feel comfortable when you first meet. They believe being able to talk about your thoughts and the things you like makes it easy for a friendship to grow naturally.

"Together Co has 5 years’ experience developing and providing an effective social prescribing service across all GP practices in Brighton and Hove, over 20 years’ experience running a much-loved befriending service, and just as much time supporting volunteers in these and other varied roles.

We have used this experience of setting up and delivering the social prescribing, befriending and volunteering services in Brighton and Hove to develop a set of tools to support other organisations to do similar. We do this through training, consultancy and working with you to tailor our models of delivery to your area.

We want to share our knowledge to ensure all communities can have the best connecting services available. We operate a sliding scale of charges to make sure our consultancy support is accessible to as many partners as possible."

Together Co help residents of Brighton and Hove who are aged 18+ and experiencing any of the following:

  • Feeling isolated and would like to socialise and meet new people
  • Struggling with benefits, housing or debt issues
  • Would like support with mild depression, anxiety or stress
  • Want to volunteer or to return to work
  • Looking for support with mild learning disabilities
  • Caring for someone and would like some advice or support
  • Want support with healthy eating and physical activity.

Finding Help for Yourself - Dealing with loneliness

Loneliness. It's a part of life. Let's talk about it.

We're all affected by loneliness at times in our lives. We can feel lonely in a busy city or rural location, on social media or spending time on our own or with others. Try not to feel embarrassed or ashamed if you do.

Sometimes admitting we feel lonely can be hard. It’s important to remember that lots of people experience similar feelings of loneliness, and that they can pass.

Understanding our own reasons for feeling lonely can help identify and manage these feelings.

Find out about possible signs of loneliness, reasons we feel lonely and ways to manage it. There are also links to more support if you or someone else needs it.

This information is taken from the NHS' website page on dealing with lonliness, as a part of their Every Mind Matters project. You read more and get helpful information and guidance here.

So that by God's will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company

Romans 15:32