‘Together’ initiative sees students and care home residents combat loneliness

A new initiative will see students and care home residents in Sheffield join together to create friendships and combat loneliness.

The ‘Together’ initiative has been launched in partnership with Student.com, Sheffcare and Student Roost to provide an opportunity for local students and care home residents to create long-lasting friendships. ‘Together’ encourages healthy wellbeing by helping residents build a network outside of their accommodation.

The initiative has been launched as a direct response to research statistics showing that both students and the older generation in local communities are at risk of the negative impact of loneliness on mental health and wellbeing.

Research conducted by Student.com showed that 70% of students have felt lonely whilst studying at university, and a quarter of those often feel that way. In adjusting to the student lifestyle, many students struggle to maintain healthy day-to-day routines and experience academic, social and financial pressures.

In addition, roughly a third of students report psychological distress during these formative years. In comparison, according to Age UK, more than 1.7 million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.

Connecting the two age groups that are living in purpose built accommodation environments to help combat loneliness, ‘Together’ will pair 12 students living in the five Student Roost Purpose Built Student Accommodation properties in Sheffield with a care home resident in one of the 10 Sheffcare locations.

During the first semester of 2019/20, the students will conduct intergenerational volunteering to spend time with their ‘Together’ buddy with a view to building friendships – sharing memories and advice. Based on engagement levels with the initiative, the aim is to implement the model across other university cities in the UK.

Dan Baker, General Manager, EMEA at Student.com comments: “Student experience and wellbeing is paramount for us at Student.com. The ‘Together’ initiative is a fantastic opportunity to take this focus and bring it further into the spotlight as we head into the next academic year. We feel privileged to play a part – alongside our partners – in enriching the university experience for students through this initiative.”

To kick-start the initiative ahead of being paired with students, a collection of residents across Sheffcare locations were invited to share some of their favourite memories from their life so far and advice for students on relationships, jobs and living. View the video showcase here: www.student.com/together.

Picture (c) Student.com