Lonely no more- why I’m setting up a new enterprise

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In a speech today, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that it is a source of “national shame” that as many as 800,000 people in England are “chronically lonely”. I couldn’t agree more.  Having worked for a small national charity supporting isolated older people for over 3 ½ years, I have met thousands of isolated older people across the country. The effects of loneliness and isolation on health are now widely recognised, so the question now is, what can we do about this?

I find it incredibly sad that the older people I have met do not have a social and support network that my parents have (mainly due to being part of a large extended family). I grew up in a community with a mix of ages of people. Having older people around was normal and I respected them. I expect that this is one of the reasons I ended up working for a charity in this area. Now people tend to keep to themselves, and not get to know their neighbours, and so there is limited interaction between people in their communities. As a member of Rotaract, an organisation for young community-minded people, I have seen firsthand the difference being part of a community makes to peoples lives.

Intergenerational relationships can be beneficial for people from all generations. Companionship between young adults and older people can help strengthen a community. Some older people have lived in their community all their lives and are such an important part of what makes it special. For economic reasons, a lot of young people neither live where they grew up nor live where they work, which means that it can be harder to get involved in a community.

These are the reasons why I have decided to set up an organisation that helps young adults and older people meet and form friendships. A Friend Indeed will match people together based on people’s interests, location, and availability. Bringing people together with others from their local community, A Friend Indeed will help positive long-term intergenerational relationships be formed.

I feel excited and a little scared about starting my own organisation. Still in the planning stages,  I am looking to meet with a wide range of people in the coming weeks to discuss this project. I have been reading a number of inspiring blog posts giving start up tips, including this by Ali Golds. Today I feel like I have taken a massive step forward towards my new life – I have been accepted on to the Public Service Launchpad scholarship! This amazing opportunity will give me the chance to meet and collaborate with others looking to find solutions to social problems. I can’t wait to get started!

11 thoughts on “Lonely no more- why I’m setting up a new enterprise

  1. Reblogged this on one swallow makes a summer and commented:
    An amazing new blog and new enterprise from Nisha Kotecha, my fiancee and the very best person I know!

  2. First of congratulations to Nisha for being accepted by public service launch pad scholarship. You have taken up a great cause of loneliness among people of all ages specially older generation and how younger generation is deprived of all the older people have to offer. I always make an effort to associate with both young and old as there is a lot to learn from everyone. Wish you all the best in your new endeavor. I’m very proud of being your uncle.

  3. I’ve long recognised that there’s something special about the relationship between the young and the very old. Grandparents can often shape & nurture ambition more easily than parents. It certainly combats loneliness & gives a new purpose as the end of life nears. It’s even more special when the old & young are not related, but have come to know, respect and value each other

  4. Congrats on your blog. And more importantly on your idea. Love it.

    I’m involved in launching a new social enterprise in Camden that aims to reduce social isolation by connecting people with each other, with local businesses and voluntary orgs. Would love to have a convo to see if there’s room for some collaboration.

    All the very best in your endeavours.


  5. Sounds like and absolutely fantastic idea and I know you are the best person for the job. Can’t wait to hear more!

  6. […] My fiancee, Nisha Kotecha, is setting up a brilliant new enterprise to combat loneliness among older people. […]

  7. […] will manage without us living close by. I am hoping A Friend Indeed, the organisation I am working to set up, will help people connect to others in their communities. Everyone has a skill that can help […]

  8. […] hard work lots of people and organisations put in to ending isolation and loneliness we still have over 800,000 chronically lonely people in England.  Three things really frustrate and infuriate me about this […]

  9. […] started this blog in October 2013, on the day that I heard that I had been accepted on to the Hub Launchpad Scholarship programme. Last night it was the Hub Launchpad’s Scholars Farewell Party.  It was a really fun event, […]

  10. […] October 2013 I started this blog and posted about why I had decided to start my own organisation which would bring different generations together in their communities. Since then I have met a number of people working with older people and on intergenerational […]

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