A Nottingham charity boss has said there’s been a big increase in young people who say they are lonely.
The Wolfpack Project, founded in 2019, focuses on those aged 16 to 35, in an attempt to combat loneliness, mental health and to empower those who attend their events and ask for their help.
The charity is now hoping to expand in the future to accommodate growing demand for services.
They have helped over 4,250 young people through a combination of one-to-one meetings, group socials, online events, and support groups.
The team of two, Damien Reynolds, the CEO of the charity, and Alex Inkley, the Project Coordinator, are expanding their team in the coming months to compensate for the rise in demand for their services.
Alex said: “We found that following Covid-19 there’s been quite a huge increase to the amount of people attending.
“Also I think people are just generally more lonely after Covid-19, especially people who found they weren’t struggling with loneliness prior to it and the people who thought that this would never be a problem in their lives, they’re actually currently now feeling that loneliness.”
A survey conducted across several youth charities across the country has shown that young people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and this had worsened in winter months last year.
“Loneliness among young people is a silent pandemic” –
Damien Reynolds, CEO of The Wolfpack Project
Christmas time can be a joyous time but according to Alex it can also be a very lonely one too.
They have recently launched a campaign called No one should be lonely at Christmas.
Alex added: “This time of year tends to be a really lonely time in terms of people who don’t have family or friends to talk to around Christmas.
“If people have depression or anxiety often this kind of weather really increases that and doesn’t really do much for people’s mental health.
“We’re getting a lot of people calling us.
“We’ve got a call line that people can just ring if they want a chat.”
CEO Damien Reynolds, said: “Loneliness among young people is a silent pandemic.
“While we often associate it with older people who live on their own, people aged 16-24 are three times more likely to report feeling lonely than those aged over 65.
“The Wolfpack Project is needed now more than ever; young people coming out of lockdown, and potentially facing another over the winter months are feeling chronic loneliness like never before.
“One in four have experienced mental health issues and related to career prospects, education, and forming social connections.
“We hope that our winter campaign will encourage young people to talk about their mental health and to reach out to us if they feel lonely.”
When asked about the day to day work that the Wolfpack Project does, he went on to mention that the entire team consists of only two of them, him and Damien, so their days are quite busy.
“We’re very small,” Alex said.
“We both do a bit of everything.
“We’re both really involved.”
Working at the charity for them both is rewarding work, particularly when they see the people who attend their events go out of their way to meet up with others outside of these.
Alex said: “I think it’s interesting because both me and my colleague Damien … both experienced loneliness in various time throughout our lives.”
He called the job more hopeful than hard to do as they can assure others that they can make it through the hard times, as both of them had before.
The charity as a whole is in the works of expanding past just more people added to their team.
They talk to organisations to form partnerships such as schools and venues to not only expand their events past just in their office in Sherwood to trying to reach more young people across Nottingham.
They are going to be mainly Nottingham city centre based as they shift their meetings to venues such as The Dice Cup, Broadway Cinema, and Nottingham Playhouse.
2022 is a year full of new events from them, including cinema and bowling trips, and board game events.
They are trying to make the charity as accessible as possible, which they plan to do also in two types of events, LGBTQ+ focused one and general ones.
As members of the community the cause is close to their hearts and Alex expressed how important it is for LGBTQ+ safe spaces for them to just exist.
The charity was named Nottingham Trent Student Unions’ Charity of the Year for 2019/2020.
About The Wolfpack Project:
Our mission is to identify, connect and empower isolated younger people and adults to take action in tackling loneliness. We provide a network of social support groups where individuals can access support, establish new friendships, and form a wider support network.
Contact details: To arrange an interview with and/or to contact The Wolfpack Project, please contact CEO Damien Reynolds at email@example.com
Media: Facebook @thewolfpackprojectuk / Twitter @TheWWPUK / Instagram @thewolfpackprojectuk / YouTube: search “TheWolfpackProject”