Helping young people to connect when they’re apart

Chris’s story
A few months ago, Chris, aged 29, moved from his hometown of Birmingham to be closer to his partner. He’d been having a tough time getting on with his family and decided he needed a fresh start.

“I found myself completely isolated as I didn’t know anyone else in the area. My partner works all week and as I don’t yet have a job, I found myself alone all the time. I felt lonely and like a prisoner at home. I didn’t have the confidence to leave the house and meet people.”

Chris’s partner contacted the Wolfpack Project, an organisation we support via our Community Grants scheme.

The Wolfpack Project describe themselves as a new, ambitious charitable organisation dedicated to reducing loneliness and social isolation and improving mental health and wellbeing amongst younger people and adults (16-50) in Nottingham.

Their vision is to help people become better connected with the community around them; empowered to combat loneliness, broaden their support network and establish new friendships.

The Wolfpack Project met with Chris to better understand how he was feeling and how they could help – through their 1-2-1 Buddy Scheme and social groups. As Chris loves walking, his Buddy, Natalia, went out with him to explore the parks in his local area and now they talk every week on the phone and meet up regularly – for walks or coffee.

“The Wolfpack Project has helped me to gain confidence and to feel less isolated and alone. With the help of my Buddy, I have someone to talk to and to do things with again.”

Chris has a real interest in art and fashion and would love to work in the sector, so the Wolfpack Project is looking to help him with that too, while giving Chris the opportunity to meet people that share his interests through Wolfpack social groups.

Chris’s Buddy, Natalia, a student at Nottingham Trent University, says:

“The Wolfpack Project aims to make a real impact on young lives so volunteering with them is a great chance to become part of something bigger, while improving my social skills.

“Meeting up with Chris has made me realise how rewarding volunteering is and how much joy it brings me to see Chris switch from a serious face to a face full of laughter.”

How we’re supporting the Wolfpack Project
The Wolfpack Project recently applied for a Community Grant of £400 to help them train two of their volunteers as fully accredited Mental Health First Aiders and we were only too happy to help. The training gave their volunteers the skills to help people experiencing a mental health problem, from spotting the early signs and providing help on a first aid basis, to guiding someone towards the right support. Since their training, the volunteers have already supported many of Wolfpack’s service users in various ways. 

The Wolfpack Project is based in Mapperley, an area with high levels of loneliness compared to other parts of the city. Nottingham City Council’s 2018 Citizens Survey found that 26.8% of respondents in the Mapperley area feel lonely all the time or often.  

According to the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, more than nine million people in the UK always or often feel lonely. Surprisingly perhaps, people aged 16-24 are three times more likely to feel lonely than those aged over 65, with 46% of UK students feeling lonely during their time at university, compared to 32% globally.

Loneliness has a wide range of negative effects on both physical and mental health so the Wolfpack Project is making an invaluable contribution to health and wellbeing in Nottingham, as well as improving people’s lives, and we’re very proud to support them.

Find out more about The Wolfpack Project

Find out more about our Community Grants scheme