What does loneliness look like


60 mins


Suitable for 14+


8 -12 Participants


Face2Face & Virtually


To give participants an introduction to the concept of (youth) loneliness and identify and articulate loneliness. Participants, using specific words and images, will also be able to identify who may be at risk of loneliness in their community


By the end of this activity participants will be able to:

  • Compare the difference between loneliness and aloneness.
  • Identify and explain the potential needs of (young) people and strategies to reduce loneliness.


Here are some guidance to support the participants


We recommend using - ‘Desert Island`

Part 1: What does loneliness look like

What is loneliness

In this activity, participants are asked to access a room that can accommodate movement. Activity sheet 1 and 2 to be given out to each participant and is a useful prompt to consider whether they would like to work on their own or in smaller groups.

Before the activity begins

The facilitator introduces the session as exploring what loneliness looks like and consider who might be experiencing feeling lonely. Participants are now to focus on the wider effects/issues of loneliness in their community. Read out resource sheet 3 - definition to the whole group to remind participants of what loneliness is defined as.


This activity will be looking at who is lonely in our communities, so can include other people - not just young people. As we want to get the participants to think about loneliness as an issue across all groups in society.

Who, why and when

The facilitator asks the participants to split the paper into sections: WHO, WHY and WHEN? Then the facilitator provides an example to the participants:


Who? older person, young person

When or where? around holidays, alone at home

Why? families may not see them, bereavement

The example provided is an assumption and may not be representative of the participants community.

Breakout group

The facilitator asks participants in their breakout groups to think about others in their community and then complete each section on the flipchart with their thoughts and ideas on - WHO would be lonely? WHEN or WHERE might they be lonely? WHY would this group be lonely? After these answers and ideas have been captured, the facilitator takes the top 3 who? Statements from all the groups and be written on a flipchart paper. Then as in the example matches the corresponding answers for when or where and why? The facilitator asks participants to go back into groups their breakout groups to use the b activity sheet to capture the answers of individual groups (e.g., participants who are leaving home/ care, older people living in a care home, young parents, people living in rural areas, etc.). Each participant should have an example of 3 people within their community written down.

Part 2: Communities - whole group discussion


The facilitator then has a final discussion with the whole group on how many different members of our communities can feel lonely and that it is not an issue exclusive to any type or group of people. This will be added to a flipchart with each group building on the examples in part 1.

The facilitator could comment here:

Follow on with examples of anyone in our community can be lonely and that they may experience loneliness differently to others. One last point to add is that it is normal to feel lonely at times. It is where loneliness starts to affect the mental health or developing new relationships where further problems can develop.

It may be appropriate to inform participants:

Loneliness can potentially be a sign of something needing to be addressed and/or changed in their lives.

Part 3: What can we do to help?

The facilitator informs the participants :

Now, it is time to look at strategies we can use to reduce loneliness. These can be as creative as the participants can think of and, therefore, could be activities or actions to develop in the future for the facilitator to expand and explore with the whole group.

Ideas could include:

  • Meet neighbours.
  • Send cards/a letter/call/email to family members and friends.
  • Send a 30 second video to someone with a positive message.
  • Meet with older people and hear their stories.
  • Organising a tea dance to do an intergenerational social action to meet others in your community.
  • Creating an online group for young people or Instagram story, TikTok clips to motivate others to share their experiences.


Youth Cymru have created a social action resource pack that may be useful if young people are wanting to engage in social or community action – not required for this session, but is available for you to use.

Any additional points?

Once most of the points from the breakout groups have been considered, the facilitator then asks the whole group if there as any additional points they would like to add.

Part 4: Has this session achieved the intended outcomes?

Learning Outcomes

The facilitator refers to the learning outcome(s) for this session. Do participants all agree on the outcomes have been met? The facilitator can ‘test’ that learning outcomes have been met by a ‘pop’ quiz with prizes, etc.

Three questions to ask participants to reflect on:

  • What is loneliness?
  • What is the difference between loneliness and aloneness?
  • What can we do to help our communities to support loneliness?


For evidence for a Youth Achievement Award, facilitators should record this feedback and observe participants giving suggestions/answers.


Facilitator(s) thank participants for their contributions and give a brief introduction to the next session, so participants know what to expect/give them something to look forward to. Facilitator to invite any last questions from the group and remind them that there is a range of information and guidance support available to them (see posters) and urge them to seek any further support from them, their youth workers, teachers, parents, their GP, etc.


We recommend that you use the Young People’s Session Evaluation to evaluate this session 


Please feel free to download the activity resources. All documents are editable and can be adapted for your bespoke session.