There is strong evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world. It’s clear that social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.

With this in mind, try to do something different today and make a connection:

  • Talk to someone instead of sending an email.

  • Speak to someone new.

  • Ask how someone’s weekend was and really listen when they tell you.

  • Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is.

IMPORTANT
It's great to connect with others but please remember to abide by any government restrictions and guidance in place in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. Check arrangements in advance before attending any groups or clubs

Hobbies and interests

A hobby is an ideal way to meet new people with the same interests. It might be something that you've tried before, or something completely new - whether that's a new skill or something that helps you relax.

Being part of a group that already has a shared interest with you is a great way to make connections, even if you're not in the same room.

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There are a wide range of exciting clubs in St Ives, something to suit all tastes. Whatever your interests there will be a club for you!

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A range of creative programmes in St Ives and Cambridgeshire, including Arts on Prescription (at the Norris Museum), a wellbeing choir, and pottery for younger people with dementia

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The Corn Exchange has a programme of regular events including dance, exercise classes and film screenings

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The Norris Museum has a programme of regular events including a friendship group, men's group and reminiscence group

Combatting loneliness

Loneliness is a feeling of not having your social needs met, feeling isolated or feeling alone in a negative way.

It is possible to be surrounded by people and have a lot of social interaction and yet still feel lonely, perhaps because these interactions are low in quality and/or do not lead to feelings of being understood or cared for.

Loneliness should not be confused with being alone. Some people are perfectly content when alone, and solitude is not necessarily linked to loneliness. Sometimes a friendly chat is all you need to feel better. We can all help each other to avoid or reduce loneliness, simply by taking the time to connect with each other.

Remember that feeling lonely for a long time can make it harder for people to make new connections. It may be difficult for people experiencing loneliness to respond to your friendly contact at first, so be patient and kind.

There are lots of ideas online about what to do if you're feeling lonely and how to help others who may be experiencing feelings of loneliness.

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Help for all ages tackling loneliness and social isolation from Cambridgeshire County Council - packed full of useful groups, activities and resources

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Links to a range of Cambridgeshire befriending services for elderly people

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Tips to manage loneliness from national charity Mind

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Feeling lonely? Get support. British Red Cross project helping people develop new skills to cope with loneliness, build confidence and connect

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Tips to manage loneliness during Coronavirus from the Mental Health Foundation

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British Red Cross project providing free mental health and wellbeing tools to help young people cope with feelings of loneliness

Virtual events

If you can't meet up with family, friends or colleagues in person, why not do something fun virtually? You can use MS Teams or Zoom to connect virtually with each other and play along with these ideas.

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A whole range of quizzes to challenge yourself, and a regular Friday pub quiz

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A huge quiz site - and if you can't find a quiz that's challenging enough, you can even make your own

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Get together with a group of friends to solve a series of puzzles and get out of a locked room - think The Crystal Maze

Explore more ways to wellbeing

CALMtown events

We've come up with some great, straightforward ways to help you connect with your community - super easy because they mostly come down to putting the kettle on and opening a packet of biscuits!

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Invite your neighbours round for a cuppa and a chat and build relationships on your own doorstep

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Organise a coffee morning at your club, workplace or business - it's an easy way to bring people together

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Bringing people together to take a short walk for their mental wellbeing