New Me Campaign, WEA UK

The UK WEA is kicking off 2019 with this campaign – encouraging people to go to a course in their local community as a way with coping with a rising tide of loneliness.

Loneliness is a major public health issue in most western countries.

WEA CE Ruth Spellman says that in the UK it is reported that more than 9 million people in the UK across all adult ages are either always or often lonely, and around 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month.

The cost of loneliness the WEA says is high. For example as many as one in 10 appointments made with GPs can be directly attributed to loneliness, and in the UK, loneliness costs a reported £6,000 per person.

WEA research shows that community learning has a vital role to play in reducing loneliness. The culture of adult learning helps people connect with others. Community-learning courses are also predominately group activities, specifically encouraging people to engage with people in their local area.

There is also evidence that community learning builds active citizens. Click here to see more.