Our DAB radios scheme has now ended!

WaveLength is the UK’s oldest Charity fighting loneliness with technology. We give radios, televisions, and tablets to people living in poverty to overcome loneliness. We support people who are lonely because of age, illness, impairment, or by circumstances which make it hard for them to leave the house or meet new people.

Technology is proven to help banish loneliness and improve people’s mental health. It can bring people together, help people stay connected and feel part of their community. Our recent research shows that 4% of vulnerable people have no access to internet at home and over 1/3 of people don’t have a radio and are living alone.

Since the Coronavirus outbreak, loneliness and anxiety has been heightened for millions of people in the UK and as the lockdown eases we may begin to see many vulnerable people fall into a category of high level loneliness. This means that they could become chronically lonely which is extremely problematic for their mental and physical health. 

During this pandemic, we run an initiative to provide the over 70s with DAB radios in England. The DAB radios include FM and a wider choice of stations, allowing you to switch over to any digital radio station you desire. In one day we received over 9,000 applications but we were only able to meet the demands of 3,000 people.

The scheme has now come to an end, we are extremely thankful to everyone that helped us to make this happen, including the BBC and we are hopeful they will help us again to raise more funds in the near future.

We have been limited by Government support as unfortunately we haven’t qualified for a number of their new Charity funding schemes. Your kind donations mean a lot to us, with additional funds we can continue to help people across the UK that will benefit the most from the gift of technology.

To make a donation or to find out more about what we do, visit: www.wavelength.org.uk

Top tips to staying healthy during Covid-19

As the Lockdown eases in the UK, there is a risk of a loneliness epidemic. The crisis has made it increasingly difficult for people to maintain social connections especially the older adults and those with underlining health conditions as the Government has told them to ‘self-isolate’ from the outside world.

What to do if you are feeling lonely during the pandemic:

Online 

If you have access to internet at home and/or forms of technology, going online is a great way to maintain social interactions with people. Consider doing zoom meetings with friends for supper, pub evenings, virtual sports etc. This can ease any heightened stress or anxiety you may be feeling during this crisis. Or you can visit meetup.com to help you to find people in your area who share mutual interests. 

Another useful way to reduce loneliness is through social media platforms:

  • ‘Next-door’ is a street WhatsApp group which allows you to meet people within your neighbourhood.
  • The ‘Peanut’ app is a great way of helping to maintain conversations, it connects women in motherhood and fertility.
  • Mindfulness interventions also reduces loneliness, fostering compassion and improves communication. Mindfulness Apps are easily accessible and inexpensive, the programs are designed to monitor body experiences online and have many acceptance techniques to learn to accept and welcome even uncomfortable thoughts and feelings.
  • There is also a number of online quizzes you can join on Facebook. Playing games with other people is one of the most common ways to take your mind off things that may be bothering you and helps you to feel less lonely. 

If you don’t feel comfortable interacting online with other people you may want to consider joining a yoga class.There are lots of easily accessible videos to watch on Youtube and/or classes available to join online. Taking up a Yoga class can greatly improve your mental and physical state.

Or if you can’t get outdoors and/or don’t yet feel safe to do so during Covid-19, why not try online countryside browsing. It’s easy to forget what the outdoors look like, when the population has only been going outside of their homes for essential food, medicine and exercise. However, countryside browsing is a useful way to distract your mind from the current situation and instead reminisce places that you enjoy or find aesthetically pleasing.

Nature

Nature is always your friend. Having some natural objects at home to hold and look at such as shells, stones, leafs, seedpods can be hugely beneficial to an individual’s mental health. It helps to keep your mind focused on something and it may also be a good relaxing technique. Short walks in outdoor spaces such as the park can immensely improve your mood. You could this with either a friend, a family member or on your own.

While you are outside, there are lots of creative activities you may also want to consider, for example writing your names on leaves and making footpaths out of them to let people know that you were there. This may give a sense of belonging and content. 

Hobbies around the house 

Doing things that you have a passion for is one of the simplest ways to alter your feelings and emotions from negative to positive. Consider writing, focus on good events, try and write out how you feel and how you would like things to change. Or you may want to talk about it instead, with friends or family you trust either in person or over the phone.

If you enjoy baking or painting this will keep you busy, making you feel less lonely and is very therapeutic. It is also a good source of stress relief. More than ever, in the current situation we need to feel like we haven’t been forgotten, if you own a TV or radio at home it can help you to improve connections within your community and make you feel a part of the outside world.

Most importantly, we must remember to look out for one another, for example offering to go food shopping for a neighbour is a great way to help others out and can be really rewarding!

This is a challenging time but it will pass. Eventually we will all be in each other’s company again, sharing stories, laughter and hugs. For now, we must look after each other and support others who have been experiencing loneliness during lockdown. 

Random acts of kindness

Give someone that warm, fuzzy feeling this Random Acts of Kindness Day. Need some inspiration? Then carry on reading.

Over 9 million adults in the UK are often and always lonely. Small acts kindness can make the world of difference. Here’s a few suggestions from us here at WaveLength.

Continue reading Random acts of kindness

6 reasons why radios fight loneliness

“It opens up conversations to people, they feel emotionally more attached to the world, they know what’s going on more, and it certainly does help their mental well-being because they’re not in an empty, lonely house.”

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WaveLength welcomes suspension of Red Button Closure

Last week, the BBC announced the suspension of its plan to close the Red Button Service. The BBC Red Button offers text-based news, sport results, alongside additional television programming. For people who live alone and without Internet connection, this 24 hour 7 day a week service, can be a valuable lifeline. 

Continue reading WaveLength welcomes suspension of Red Button Closure

Response to new RHS loneliness stats

In late January, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) released the outcomes of its survey: 50% of UK adults feel lonely. The reasons cited; people are short of time and too shy. The report highlights youth loneliness, with 68 per cent of 18-24 year olds coming out lonelier than 41 per cent of over 55s, chiming with the results of an earlier YouGov survey.

Continue reading Response to new RHS loneliness stats

Election 2019:‌ A loneliness policy test

Avid readers of the government’s loneliness strategy ‘A Connected Society’, will know that the government committed to a loneliness policy test. One of the main strengths of the test, in theory at least, is that it will be used across all government departments to assess policy changes. In this post, we look at why it is important for the next government to maintain momentum with the development of this test.

Continue reading Election 2019:‌ A loneliness policy test

WaveLength’s response: free superfast broadband for all

Earlier this week, the Digital Equality Group co-ordinated by WaveLength, released a report looking at the experiences of benefit claimants using online government services. In this report, we highlighted how government’s Digital by Default strategy is continuing to exclude people. We recommended that as more government services are put online, then government should provide universal means-tested broadband for those who need it most. 

Continue reading WaveLength’s response: free superfast broadband for all

Why loneliness needs to be an election priority


We could start this post by citing the millions of people who are lonely in the UK. Or we could give you a definition of loneliness or state the percentage of people who are scared to admit they’re lonely. But many of you will already be familiar with these facts. You’ll appreciate how deeply loneliness can be felt by a range of people. In fact, many of you will know first-hand what it feels like to be lonely.

Continue reading Why loneliness needs to be an election priority

‘Go home and do everything online’: Benefit claimants and online government services

Over the summer, the Digital Equality Group, a policy group co-ordinated by WaveLength, invited benefit claimants and support workers to fill in a questionnaire. This report shows that services are not always straightforward or convenient and those who can’t use digital services continue to be, or are increasingly excluded by the Digital By Default principle. We share these responses in a short paper, which we release today.

Continue reading ‘Go home and do everything online’: Benefit claimants and online government services

Tablet computers supporting people with early onset dementia

Through our group application process, we give technology to a range of charities who support people who are lonely for a variety of reasons. Those suffering from early onset dementia are particularly vulnerable, as they begin to lose their memories, as well as their independence. Tablet computers can help support staff to understand their patients and to help them through this worrying, and often isolating experience.

Continue reading Tablet computers supporting people with early onset dementia

“I can’t tell you how pleased she was. She was so excited to get up today.”

Every year we give out hundreds of pieces of technology through our individual application process. The people we help feel lonely for a range of reasons. Many have poor physical or mental health, which makes leaving their homes difficult. In this post, we share the story of one of our beneficiaries, who received a tablet computer from us in September.

Continue reading “I can’t tell you how pleased she was. She was so excited to get up today.”

Amazon Fire App Recommendations

Here at WaveLength, we’ve created a list of some of our favourite apps which you can download to your Amazon Fire tablet. This list is especially useful for people who are new to tablet computers.

If there are any Apps you think we should add to our list, then leave us a comment below. We’d love to hear what you think. If you’d like to print out a copy of this list, then please click here.

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Loneliness in refuge

Clothworkers Tablet 2

Isolation is a tactic many abusers use to control their victims. The perpetrator controls the victim by removing external support systems, so that they become increasingly dependent on the abuser. This makes it difficult for the victim to leave. It is in the abuser’s interest to restrict victims’ access to the Internet, so they can isolate the victim.

Continue reading Loneliness in refuge

Loneliness and refugees

Loneliness and social isolation are the biggest challenges faced by refugees arriving in London. They have been forced to leave their home country, their community and often their family as they flee war and persecution. New refugees are keen to make friends and contribute to society, but they face language and cultural barriers that can make this difficult. These barriers can separate refugees from the people around them, and make building a new life very lonely work.

Continue reading Loneliness and refugees

Loneliness and homelessness

Adam Outreach Radio

Many homeless people don’t want to admit their situation to friends and family, colleagues or school friends, and can feel that their secret isolates them from those around them. Not having a home makes it impossible to invite someone over for coffee and a chat, and having no disposable income means that going to the cinema or a restaurant with friends is out of bounds. When having the freedom to spend time with friends and family becomes unaffordable, people can quickly become lonely.

Continue reading Loneliness and homelessness

Everyday technology fighting loneliness report

WaveLength Everyday technology fighting loneliness report

Today we share our latest report, ‘Everyday technology fighting loneliness‘ which shows that people felt less lonely after receiving a radio, television, or tablet. Using survey data collected from over 180 people over 2 years, the research undertaken by the University of York shows that individuals rated their own health more positively after receiving and using their new piece of technology. Study participants were on average 44 years old. Over 50% had been homeless and experienced poor mental health.

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NEW: Everyday technology fighting loneliness report

WaveLength Everyday technology fighting loneliness report

Today we share our latest report, ‘Everyday technology fighting loneliness‘ which shows that people felt less lonely after receiving a radio, television, or tablet. Using survey data collected from over 180 people over 2 years, the research undertaken by the University of York shows that individuals rated their own health more positively after receiving and using their new piece of technology. Study participants were on average 44 years old. Over 50% had been homeless and experienced poor mental health.

Continue reading NEW: Everyday technology fighting loneliness report

“The TV has made such a positive difference.”

Clare, who lives in Kilburn, received a TV from WaveLength. Clare suffers from health problems which can often leave her bed bound. She describes the TV as a ‘friend’ to her when in her flat. The TV allowed Clare to re-connect with what’s going on and watch TV shows which feature her passion for painting. Clare writes about the impact of receiving a television from WaveLength below.

Continue reading “The TV has made such a positive difference.”

“The TV has made such a positive difference to my life.”

Clare, who lives in Kilburn, received a TV from WaveLength. Clare suffers from health problems which can often leave her bed bound. She describes the TV as a ‘friend’ to her when in her flat. The TV allowed Clare to re-connect with what’s going on and watch TV shows which feature her passion for painting. Clare writes about the impact of receiving a television from WaveLength below.

Continue reading “The TV has made such a positive difference to my life.”

Friends Against Scams

Scams affect the lives of millions of people across the UK. The National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team estimates that UK consumers lose between £5 and £10 billion a year, as a result of scams. This post looks at the great work being done by Friends Against Scams to help tackle scams – and loneliness.

Continue reading Friends Against Scams

Tackling social isolation and loneliness: Public Policy Exchange Symposium

Earlier this week, WaveLength attended the Public Policy Exchange event ‘Tackling Social Isolation and Loneliness’. There were presentations from the Minister for Loneliness Tracey Crouch MP, academics, as well as case-studies of great work going on around the country. This blog post talks about some of the highlights (there’s not enough room to talk about all the fantastic presentations unfortunately) and food for thought. 

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Why Are Young People Lonely?

Young people - two boys stand apart against a brick wallOver the past few years, loneliness has become a major talking point in the UK, with multiple studies being conducted to find out who is lonely and why. Earlier this year, one such study by the Office of National Statistics found that 16-24 year olds are more likely to be lonely than people over 65. And many people, including the Minister for Loneliness Tracey Crouch, seem keen to blame this problem on technology.

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WaveLength and the Advisory Group

In January, the Prime Minister asked the Office for National Statistics to find a way to measure loneliness in the population. To help with this, a Technical Advisory Group was set up. The Advisory Group includes charities, researchers, and government departments who will help identify the best way to do this. Earlier this week, our CEO Tim attended an Advisory Group meeting to hear their progress and represent WaveLength.

Continue reading WaveLength and the Advisory Group

Register for free support in a power cut

Shirley Loveday, who explains how people can gain support in the case of power cutsShirley Loveday at UK Power Networks has guest authored today’s blog post. Shirley works for the Customer Vulnerability team, promoting the support that is available free of charge to vulnerable people in the event of a power cut. People with a wide variety of needs can access this support, including pensioners, families with young children, and people with special needs, disabilities or health conditions. Many of WaveLength’s beneficiaries live in these circumstances, and could benefit from this support. But it is only available to people who register. So if you would benefit from this support, or if you know someone who would, please read more below and sign up!

 

Continue reading Register for free support in a power cut