The Facebook groups tackling London’s loneliness

Londoners are more likely than other people in the UK to be affected by severe forms of loneliness, but there are Facebook groups trying to tackle that.

Findings of The Reconceptualising Loneliness in London Report found that 700,000 people in the capital feel lonely most or all of the time. 

The report also found that whilst overall 8% of Londoners experienced severe loneliness, this percentage rises to 12% for young Londoners, 18% for low-income Londoners, and 15% for LGBTQ+ Londoners. 

However, Facebook groups such as the London Lonely Girls Club and Gals who Graduate offer people in the city a way to connect, build communities and combat some of this loneliness.

London Lonely Girls Club is described as a community that aims to bring girls in London together to make memories, form friendships and hopefully make London life a little less lonely.

Holly Cooke founded the group just over four years ago after she moved to London post-university and moved in with family friends who were around her parent’s age. 

The group now has nearly 30,000 members, runs between three to five in person meet-ups each month and has an active forum that gets more than 50 posts each day. 

Cooke said: “I was super excited as I’d always wanted to live in London and had dreams of it being like the UK version of Gossip Girl or The Devil Wears Prada.

“I had a really long list of places to go, things to do and restaurants to eat at, and I very quickly realised I didn’t have anyone to do these things with, as when I moved to London I moved here only knowing the family friends I lived with.”

She googled “How to make friends in London” and came across Bumble BFF, which she tried for a little while but found that it was intimidating to meet up with a stranger one-to-one.

Cooke added: ”From this, I had an idea: what if you could get a group of you together instead? Rather than meeting someone by yourself, there could be four or five of you, which would hopefully make things less intimidating and awkward.

“And so The London Lonely Girls Club was born!

“A recurring theme that I hear regularly from our community members, and I experienced myself, is how difficult it is to meet new people once you’re outside of the education system. 

“Apart from the work environment, or if you’re in a house share, there aren’t very many places for people to come together and hang out on a regular basis to allow them to start and form relationships.

“So communities like The London Lonely Girls Club fill that gap, and give people the time and space to build those really important connections and relationships in whatever way they need to, as the kind of connections and friendships people need will always be slightly different.”

Eleanor Davies, 21, moved to London from a small town in Wales in September to study creative writing at Birbeck, University of London. 

She moved to London completely alone, lived in a flat alone and didn’t know anyone in the city other than one distant relative.

Davies said when she moved to London she experienced loneliness and whilst spending time by herself gave her a greater sense of independence.

She added: “It’s really hard being away from family and in a totally new environment, especially in a city where generally things are quite fast paced and people don’t always have time to talk.” 

She searched on Facebook for groups of other girls moving to London and discovered the Facebook groups London Lonely Girls Club and Gals Who Graduate.

Davies said that without the groups she doesn’t think she would have met anyone in the city.

She added: “I don’t think I would have met anyone. 

“There were a few people on my course but because it was an evening course and just a couple of hours a week you don’t really get the chance to chat and also there were age differences and you don’t always gel with people so I honestly don’t think I would have met anyone.

“Maybe through work, I had a part time job, but that’s more of a work environment and its nice to have people purely to go out with socially.”

“The Facebook groups gave me a social life and it was quite comforting because you didn’t feel as alone.

“I got on with everyone really well but even if you didn’t its nice to just meet other people who are going through the same thing.”

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