Co-op youth project makes film on the impact of loneliness

The film was produced by 10 media students as part of a project run by the Co-op College and the Real Ideas Organisation

Young people from City College, Plymouth, have created a film focusing on how even the smallest action can help alleviate someone’s feelings of being alone.

The Youth Co-operative Action project, run by the Co-operative College in partnership with Real Ideas Organisation, gathered 10 young media students to create the film.

Delivered in towns and cities across England and supported by a £170,000 grant from the Co-op Foundation’s #iwill Fund, each cohort of Youth Co-operative Action is encouraged to think differently to solve problems in their community and understand the real power of their voice. The project aims to give them the skills, knowledge and platform to tell their story, working co-operatively to inspire meaningful change. 

Participants have been tackling the issues that matter to them, such as loneliness, highlighted as a key issue among young people and emphasised using the projects hashtag #TogetherNotAlone.

Daniel Cox, project manager at the Co-operative College, said: “The young people from our Plymouth cohort of Youth Co-operative Action have created a really moving film which highlights not just how tough loneliness can be, but also how even the smallest action can make a difference. 

“We know the difference that youth social action can make in tackling loneliness and can’t wait to see what the next group of young people produce when we get back underway in September.”

Nick Crofts, CEO of the Co-op Foundation, said:“Through the Co-operative College’s project, young people are given the opportunity to support each other while building confidence, skills, friendships and a sense of community.  

“It’s fantastic that these young people have used their creativity and resilience to address youth loneliness, despite the challenges presented by Covid.   

“At Co-op Foundation, we know that youth loneliness is an issue. However, we also know that there is hope. Our Locked Down, Looking Out research shows that despite young people feeling lonelier now than a year ago, they’re also embracing co-operation to help their peers. This sentiment is absolutely demonstrated in the Co-operative College’s Youth Co-operative Action project.”  

Amy Cooper, programme co-ordinator, Real Ideas added: “The group spoke a lot about the fact that you can be around people but still be lonely. They also spoke openly about the pressure to be constantly doing things, such as being out with friends, because of what we see others post on social media. 

“It’s been clear to me throughout my time running the sessions that young people are intrinsically inclusive, caring and above all else, want to make a real positive difference in their communities and to the lives of other people.”

Further details about the programme, including how young people from across Plymouth and the surrounding area can sign up for the next cohort starting this September, are available over on the Co-operative College website.