Being lonely is not the same as being alone. You can feel lonely in a room full of people. You can live in a house packed with family but still feel lonely. It is a feeling, described by sufferers as “a wave of emotions separating you from the rest of the world”.
In our world, someone who is “lonely” is often depicted assomeone physically isolated from the world, staring out into space, cut off from society. But what if that same lonely person was your neighbour? And what if you could do something to help? The best and easiest way to help someone who is lonely is to talk to them.
So that’s why I invite you all to get involved in the #HelloNeighbour Challenge. The initiative was launched by the Nextdoor neighbourhood watch website, but you do not need to subscribe to the app or follow a hashtag to embrace its purpose.
Taking on this challenge involves a commitment to spend one hour a week until the end of the year helping a neighbour. Whether this involves inviting them over for a cup of tea, or accompanying them for a turn around Oundle. A simple conversation with someone could make the difference between a good and a bad day.
In Oundle we are fortunate to have a welcoming community hub at No. 1 St Osyth’s Lane. They hold multiple drop in groups during the week, all aimed at helping the community and reducing isolation for local residents. Some fixed dates for the diary are the monthly men’s breakfast (second Saturday of each month) or dads and tots (first Saturday of each month), the fortnightly StitChat, or weekly Tuesday Toddlers and Thursday market day Drop In. There is no charge for any of these activities.
I invite you all to take part in the #HelloNeighbour Challenge. All you need to do is go and say hi!