Since the pandemic restrictions ended, nearly 20,000 women who reside in London have joined a group aimed at reducing loneliness.
Following her relocation to the city from Stoke-on-Trent in 2018, Holly Cooke established The London Lonely Girls Club on Facebook.
She claimed that the group had almost 31,000 members as of last year, up from 10,000 at the beginning of 2022.
She noted that “more people have returned to London and are looking for that connection.”
London is so large that loneliness has a lot of room to grow.
When the 26-year-old from north-east London first relocated to the city, she lived with family friends and found it difficult to make friends her own age.
She admitted, “I Googled how to make friends in London.”
Meeting individuals one-on-one through apps like Bumble BFF, according to Ms. Cooke, felt “intense and scary.”
She said, “I wondered, ‘What if you could get two, three, or four of you together?'”
Ms. Cook started her Facebook group in reaction.
“A bigger risk than smoking or obesity” is loneliness.
Can councils stop the pandemic of loneliness in London?
She said, “Loneliness is a tough one. “It makes no difference where you reside.
“People experience it in a variety of ways. London is so ephemeral. Some people recently relocated here, while others have lived here their entire lives.
Between four and six events per month are organized by her and two volunteers; in the past, these have included picnics, brunches, board game evenings, and cocktail hours.
Among young people, 12% of those surveyed said that they experienced severe loneliness, with people going through life changes or new to London more likely to be impacted.
It also found that poverty, prejudice and disability could increase the risk of social isolation.
Ms Cooke said that her club provided a “safe environment” for people to meet face-to-face.
“Meet-ups are getting booked up in five minutes,” she said. “Our first meet-up post Covid sold out in two minutes.
“It’s been a crazy journey. I started it because I just wanted to make some friends.”