'We are so much more than a Facebook group': The singles group battling social isolation in third lockdown
A new social media group bringing single people together from all over the country aims to combat feelings of depression and isolation as the third national lockdown takes hold.
'Single Friends United: Stronger Together' was first set up on November 16 by a group of Lancashire singletons who wanted to help other individuals out over the festive period.
But three months later, the country has entered another national lockdown, with over 400 people already a member of the social group and using it to make friends.
Lancashire founder Stephen Walker, 40, also runs the popular 'Single Parents United' group and said: "We felt we needed to be able to look at those people in society who may not be parents but are also struggling with feeling lonely.
"My vision was to reduce social isolation for single people by helping them make genuine friendships online that then will hopefully lead to meeting face to face after the pandemic. I hope to plan meetups and weekends away when we are able to.
"We are just all trying to take care of each other during these difficult times, make new friends and catch up. A lot of people have seen our posts on social media and decided to join.
"They have been sharing their Christmas and New Year plans, pics of days out and walks what they have been doing. There have been so many posts in the group it is phenomenal and I am definitely hoping it continues way after the pandemic."
Members of the group, of which there are currently 413, can join a group Zoom video call at 8 pm on Sundays in a bid to meet and connect with other single people.
According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) during the first month of the pandemic last year, 7.4 million people said their well-being was affected through feeling lonely.
Vicki Sarah, 44, from Ashton-on-Ribble, is a member of the admin team for the new group, alongside Laura Williams and Louise Kirby.
She added: "We are mindful that there are so many more out there that may be feeling especially isolated during these difficult times.
"We have regular calls with quizzes and have a support team who are on standby to provide a listening ear to anyone who may be struggling. We are so much more than a Facebook group.
"We have lots of plans in the pipeline and encourage all single people of any age to join us and be part of our absolutely amazing community. We hear each day members say how much they love the group and that there is nothing like it on social media.
"As a single person who was desperately looking to meet genuine lovely local people I can honestly say I really have and can’t wait for more to come. It has had a massive impact on me as I had to rebuild my circle of friends. It’s been really hard and this has been such a life saver for me too."
Single people across Lancashire who are currently battling feelings of loneliness and isolation who want to join the group can visit their Facebook page here.
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