If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year, it’s that it takes a village. Our communities are more vital than ever.
From helping each other with groceries to socially distanced street parties, we’ve really felt the power of community throughout 2020. And it was much-needed: chronic loneliness is on the rise, with Age UK reporting 1.2 million lonely older people in the UK, and a 2018 study showed that young people aged 16-24 feel loneliness more intensely and more frequently than any other age group.
Being part of a community is good for you. Our communities encourage and support each other through good times and bad, and challenge us to be better. So how can we stop ourselves feeling lonely, and start feeling the benefits of the group around us?
Psychologist Dr Becky Spelman recommends a proactive approach, suggesting that joining a language class or a hobby group or getting in touch with like-minded people can help to overcome loneliness. Those Zoom calls help too, as establishing a support network online can help to maintain a sense of being liked and wanted, and keep social skills alive.
1 Help people on the move
If you’ve been building up your fitness with the Couch to 5k app, why not set yourself a new challenge? Goodgym is a community of runners combining keeping fit with making a difference, from safe, socially distanced visits to isolated older people to helping local projects. Goodgym is currently active in Lambeth and Southwark, and is keen to set up a group in Kensington and Chelsea- contact them to get involved!
2 Learn a language
Learning a language improves your career prospects and even increases the size of your brain! By doing a course with other people and practising your new skills with a native speaker in your community or online, you can enjoy the social aspect of learning after a period of isolation. Morley offers courses in languages ranging from Yoruba to Spanish to British Sign Language and many more!
3 Get outside
Get out and about, chat to people and learn something you’d never known before with a walking tour. London History Walks at Morley help you discover more about our city’s past, from the stories of our tube lines to the geology of the capital. If cultural history is your thing, our sculpture walks bring you on a stroll to explore London’s extensive public art.
Whether you’re volunteering your time, talent or skills, your community needs you! From charities to community events and groceries to companionship, volunteers are always needed. Seek out a mutual aid group to help neighbours in need, or contact local organisations to offer your assistance. And if you’re an organisation in need of volunteers, let us know!
5 Join the club
Morley College London has a thriving community of clubs and societies, whatever your interest. Whether you’re a medieval enthusiast, a chess pro, a rambler or want to sing in a choir, there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy safe, socially distanced socialising while having fun learning at Morley. And if you’re passionate about something, why not set up your own club?