YMCA has responded to the Office for National Statistics analysis that found one in 10 people aged between 16 and 24 say that they often or always feel lonely, compared with slightly more than one in 20 of all adults. The finding confounds assumptions that elderly people are most prone to loneliness. As well as the 10% of young people who are often or always lonely, a further 23% say they sometimes feel that way, and 27% do so occasionally.
Denise Hatton, Chief Executive, YMCA England & Wales, said:
“For some it will come as a shock that young people are the loneliest but for anybody working with them on a day-to-day basis this is no surprise.
“The reality is that local authorities are spending less on activities for young people to interact with each other. Councils are spending £206m less on youth services than 3 years ago. It is these positive experiences, where young people meet new friends and socialise that have been lost.
“With no other choice, the result is a generation where their friends are online and instead of heading to the local youth centre to meet, it’s upstairs to turn on the Xbox.
“YMCA has been calling on the Government and local authorities to invest in youth workers and youth centres which bring young people together. We need activities that keep them happy, healthy and safe.”
Every year YMCA supports 33,560 young people through youth work activities.
This story first appeared in The Times, Greg Hurst, Social Affairs Editor, Wednesday 11 April 2018.