Action coalition against loneliness in Enschede


 

Over 1 million people in the Netherlands indicate that they experience serious feelings of loneliness.

Loneliness is a part of life and can happen to anyone. However, almost half (46%) of the people living in Enschede regularly suffer from feelings of loneliness. This is a substantial number, and slightly higher than in the rest of the Netherlands. Political attention is crucial to tackle this issue together with parties in the field. It is therefore that #SamenEen (Together One) Enschede was created, an initiative from the municipality and health organisations Manna and Liberein.

The coalition asked Perspectivity to design and facilitate a kick-off meeting to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders to tackle loneliness in Enschede and to form various action coalitions. Around 50 people including those who experience(d) loneliness, care and welfare professionals, elderly organisations, civil servants and (social) entrepreneurs, gathered on July 4 at the Grolsch brewery.

From theory via experience to action
Collectively they started explored the issue of loneliness from a scientific point of view, including input from the nationwide action program with five pillars for a local approach. Through appreciative inquiry, personal success stories were shared to learn from what we know already works well. Through a shoe shuffle (an interactive dialogue) participants expressed their desires for the future. The group then formed various action coalitions to take the first steps to address the issues the coming months.

The day was received positively by the participants and created a foundation for various follow-up meetings leading up to the week of loneliness in October.

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