Shrewsbury's The Hive has received thousands of pounds from the National Lottery Community Fund and its work has been celebrated this Loneliness Awareness Week, June 14 to 18.
The Hive’s MYC Music project in Shrewsbury is just one of many local groups that have stepped up to support people feeling isolated during this challenging time. It has been awarded over £15,000 of National Lottery funding to support its song writing and music making workshops.
It is part of 293 projects in the West Midlands to have received a share of more than £16 million in National Lottery funding since the start of the pandemic to tackle the issue of loneliness and isolation.
Jack Morris, aged 23, is just one of many artists at The Hive’s MYC Music project who has appreciated the lifeline offered by the Hive and used it as a chance to make new friends.
He said: “Music has been a lifeline to me throughout the pandemic. I became isolated during lockdown and that really had a knock-on effect on my self-esteem and my confidence. I started to struggle, and that’s when I decided to become a member of MYC Music.
“I take part in the weekly Zoom sessions where we focus on song writing and jamming together as a group. It has really helped me to come into my own and make new friends too. Music is a big part of my life, and MYC Music has helped me to channel my energy into it.”
Sal Hampson, programmes and projects manager at The Hive, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players we have been able to support young adults across Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin who have really struggled with loneliness this past year. We bring our participants together twice a week in a virtual ‘jamming session’ and that wouldn’t have been possible without the help from The National Lottery Community Fund.
“To show how invaluable the MYC Music project had been to them, our artists wrote and produced an inspiring song, called ‘Time Capsule’, which perfectly sums up what MYC Music has meant to everyone, particularly in this last year."
Loneliness has been a big concern throughout the pandemic and research from the National Lottery said that the number of people in the UK feeling “often” or “always” lonely has jumped by more than a million since last year – from 2.6 million to 3.7 million.
Nicola Thurbon, from The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “As we continue to feel the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, tackling the stigma around loneliness and making it okay to ask for help remains more important than ever.
“Loneliness affects people of all ages and from all walks of life, and we know that because of lockdown many people are experiencing isolation for the very first time. That’s why it’s so important that local groups continue to receive the funding they need to support people to connect, reduce feelings of isolation and help their local communities come together."
A similar fund is open to small organisations with an income of less than £50,000 until June 28. To find out more, visit tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/local-connections-fund