The third Monday in January is sometimes referred to as “Blue Monday” as it is considered to be the most difficult and depressing day of the year.
The concept of Blue Monday was first mentioned in a 2005 press release from a travel company, which claimed to have calculated the date using an equation that took into account a number of factors likely to contribute to low mood, such as the weather and failing our New Year’s resolutions.
The reality, however, is that we all have our good days and our bad days, and those aren’t for the calendar or an equation to decide.
The charity Samaritans suggest instead that we should swap “Blue Monday” for “Brew Monday”, and get together with friends, family and work mates who may be lonely, for a cuppa and start a conversation over a brew.
Brew Monday is a great idea to bring people together and we at Community Led Housing North Yorkshire and East Riding love the concept as a reason to reach out to people who feel isolated. But, once Brew Monday has passed, what more can we do to support people who struggle with feelings of isolation? How can community led housing help tackle loneliness?
In High Barnett, north London, a group of women aged over fifty created their own community in a purpose-built block of flats as an alternative to living alone. New Ground Cohousing is the first senior cohousing community in the country, and they hope that others will take their lead. You can find out more on their website.
In November 2021, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities commissioned a report to look at how innovative community led housing projects could help tackle loneliness and support social connections. It found that participation in community led housing (CLH) schemes had a positive impact on loneliness:
‘….individuals involved in CLH, whether residents of CLH communities or not, are significantly less likely to feel lonely than similar members of the general public. These benefits are an outcome of the interaction of the main features of CLH: joint activities and responsibilities, shared space, and physical design.’
It went on to say:
“We have identified several CLH features that contribute to a reduction of loneliness including self-management, shared spaces, working and socialising together, design that encourages social interaction, tenure security and a clear community identity.”
January is a great time to start a new project, so if you want to bring your community together and develop your own housing to reduce isolation and loneliness, we can help you through the process to develop a scheme that suits the needs of your community or group. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.