Developing Responses to Youth Loneliness

This section contains information that can help organisations begin to plan and develop their work to help young people tackle loneliness and isolation. We are keen to grow this area of the website, so if you have examples of effective practice, helpful approaches or pieces of work that has impact then please contact

Planning our work

When developing responses to help young people tackle loneliness and isolation we need to be clear on the outcomes we are seeking to achieve; the capacity we have to deliver; and that we can achieve what we set out to do – there is a risk that even with the best intentions we may be raising expectations for some of the most vulnerable young people we may be working with that we may not be able to meet. It is, therefore, that we carefully plan our work around youth loneliness and isolation. 

One approach to doing this is by using a Theory of Change approach. A useful guide to Theory of Change, which has been developed by NPC can be found here.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has produced a guide called How to build a Theory of Change, which can be found here.

Nesta has produced guidance to developing a Theory of Change, which can be found here.


Introducing a sensitive subject

Youth Focus North East has developed a short film called ‘We Are You’, which they use in workshops with young people in schools and at youth projects to help start conversations about loneliness and isolation. The film was created by young people, based on their own experiences of feeling lonely or isolated. 

Supporting young people with autism

The Include Autism resource has been created by members of the charity Ambitious for Autism’s Youth Council to help tackle the problem of loneliness and social isolation felt by many of their peers. According to research by the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission, 81% of autistic adults say they feel lonely at least some of the time due to autism-related anxiety, while over 80% of young people with autism believe they spend less time socialising than their peers.

The new toolkit, which has been funded by the Comic Relief Sustainability Fund, has been developed to give those running youth groups or clubs a better understanding of autism and how to support autistic young people. 

The Ambitious for Autism toolkit can be found here.

The Building Connections Fund – NPC Report

NPC has conducted a qualitative evaluation of the Co-op Foundation and government-funded Building Connections projects to better understand the role of co-design and community spaces in reducing loneliness for young people.

Youth Cymru – Reachout Toolkit

Youth Cymru worked with young people to create a toolkit and lead social action projects which allowed them to gain a better understanding of loneliness, enhance self confidence, deepen self-efficacy and
enable a sense of external agency, empowering and supporting them to experience
community cohesion and connections.

Tackling Stigma – We are lonely, but not alone

Supported by the Co-op Foundation, We are lonely, but not alone is a youth-led campaign to tackle the stigma of youth loneliness.  Young people say they feel lonely more often than any other age group, but research shows that only a quarter (26%) are confident talking about it, and even less (23%) think society takes it seriously.

You can find more out about this work here.

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