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News: Char­i­ty dig­i­tal project to com­bat loneliness

Please note: This news story may contain information that is no longer current or up to date.
Georgie, one of the IT students, with an iPad
Georgie, one of the IT students, with an iPad

A local char­i­ty is run­ning a project to see if increased access to tech­nol­o­gy could help reduce lone­li­ness and boost men­tal health in young adults, and some of our IT stu­dents got involved!

The Wolf­pack Project, based in Car­ring­ton, sup­ports young adults aged 16 – 35 across Not­ting­ham who are feel­ing lone­ly, iso­lat­ed, or strug­gling with their men­tal health, includ­ing run­ning a bud­dy scheme. Their new pilot project has seen five IT stu­dents at Not­ting­ham Col­lege receive a free iPad from the char­i­ty, with the plan being to see if there are any men­tal health benefits.

The Wolf­pack Project explained that research shows that younger peo­ple, par­tic­u­lar­ly those aged 16 – 24, are the age group most like­ly to feel lone­ly often or all the time, with one in four expe­ri­enc­ing men­tal health problems. 

Due to the uncer­tain times that the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic has pre­sent­ed, this prob­lem has been fur­ther accen­tu­at­ed through­out 2020, where­by 16 – 24 year olds have been twice as like­ly to expe­ri­ence lock­down lone­li­ness’ com­pared to old­er generations. 

Damien Reynolds, Founder & CEO of The Wolf­pack Project, said: We want­ed to help sup­port this sig­nif­i­cant, grow­ing issue, whilst pro­mot­ing bet­ter con­nec­tiv­i­ty for younger peo­ple, who were more like­ly to lack the means in which to stay in touch with their friends or family.”

As part of the first phase of this project, Col­lege staff worked with The Wolf­pack Project to iden­ti­fy five Lev­el 3 BTEC Nation­al Diplo­ma IT stu­dents to take part in this pilot. The stu­dents gave an insight into their expe­ri­ence of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic and lock­downs that have hap­pened over the last few months. They all agreed that, to some extent, their well­be­ing had dete­ri­o­rat­ed due to lockdown.

Six­teen-year-old Georgie Hinch­liffe is one of the stu­dents involved in the pilot and she has received an iPad from the Wolf­pack Project. 

I’m enjoy­ing my course — it’s pret­ty good. But obvi­ous­ly, it’s been hard not being able to go out and see fam­i­ly and friends as much at the moment. Stay­ing in a lot of the time and not hav­ing much to do is going to impact on any­one’s men­tal health.” 

I think the iPad will help me be bet­ter con­nect­ed, and so it will def­i­nite­ly have men­tal health benefits. 

 — Georgie Hinch­liffe

Ismael Nobre from Not­ting­ham Col­lege is the stu­den­t’s’ Course Coor­di­na­tor and Tutor. He said: We’ve been sup­port­ing our stu­dents both in Col­lege and remote­ly, and we’re real­ly proud of them. But it’s great to have had this group involved in the pilot, which also has the added ben­e­fit of help­ing them with their under­stand­ing of dif­fer­ent technologies’.

The Wolf­pack Project plans to con­tin­ue its work and fundrais­ing so that it can offer more com­pli­men­ta­ry iPads to young adults who are most at risk in soci­ety. Going for­ward, it is explor­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of offer­ing devices to more stu­dents at the Col­lege as part of a wider project. 

The char­i­ty will focus its future efforts on young adults who are lone­ly, iso­lat­ed, or expe­ri­enc­ing men­tal health prob­lems, and who would ben­e­fit from hav­ing greater con­nec­tiv­i­ty and access to a resource they oth­er­wise would not have. 

Published on:
  • 8th December 2020 (3:39 PM)
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