This week’s blog post is written by Leanne from Blue Triangle Housing Association, who explains how loneliness affects the young people that BTHA supports.
We work with some of the most challenging client groups. Our service users tend to have multiple support needs and with that can come a feeling of exclusion. Sometimes when a person is placed in our accommodation they may not want that to be public knowledge so they may feel they have no one to open up to about their worries. There is also the stigma that homelessness can bring which can create barriers in creating relationships or a feeling of belonging.
In our projects we aim to make our service users feel valued and that they do always have that support. Their needs come first and we will do all we can to help them achieve a better life.
Support workers will provide one to one keywork sessions to assess an individual’s needs and then review it weekly to ensure engagement and involvement to try and reduce the loneliness and excluded feeling.
Technology like the donations from Wavelength help with this. For instance by giving tablets, some of our young people can keep in touch with family and friends via their social media. Donations of TVs to our projects can also encourage our service users to meet in our communal lounges. Come together and socialise. Our young people also hold movie nights. One of our projects even held an ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here’ night for the final where they made a buffet and gathered to watch it.
I once heard at a conference that Wi-Fi is the 4th utility, and being passionate about digital I totally believe that. Nowadays I can’t see how anyone could get through life without digital access, whether that’s TV, Internet, mobile phone/tablets. A lot of us, in particular working professionals, may take access to technology for granted but there are still some people that don’t have that easily accessible but are expected to use it. For instance applying for benefits or looking for a job. Organisations like WaveLength play a big part in helping bridge that gap.
There are many ways technology can bring people together. It definitely opens up channels of communication for those who may fell socially excluded.