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.