Loneliness, while something we associate with older people, can affect anyone of any age.

Feeling alone and lacking social connection and friendship can have a huge impact on someone’s physical health and mental wellbeing.

Becoming part of social group or network, keeping in contact with friends, family and neighbours and volunteering can all help to reduce the impact of social isolation.

Support for older people

Neighbourhood Network Schemes are voluntary sector organisations that provide a range of services, activities and opportunities promoting the independence, health and wellbeing of older people throughout Leeds.

Time to Shine Leeds runs a range of projects connecting older people in Leeds.

South and East Leeds Friends (S.E.L.F) is a social support service for people aged 50 and over who are experiencing low mood and high levels of social isolation.

Campaign to End Loneliness is a network of national, regional and local organisations working to tackle the health threat of loneliness in older age.

Age UK – Befriending Services offer both face-to-face and telephone friendship services.

The Silver Line is a free confidential helpline for older people, open 24 hours a day. Call Silver Line for information, friendship and advice at any time of the day or night. Tel 0800 4 70 80 90 (freephone).

Sikh Elders Service is run by Touchstone for Sikh men and women aged 55 and over who live in Leeds. The aim is to improve the health and well-being of older Sikh people, by supporting them to live independently and live fulfilling lives. The Service includes one-to-one support and group activities, information, practical support and befriending. You can refer yourself or be referred to this service. Contact them by phone 0113 216 3143 (Punjabi line) or see their website for details.

Making a Match is a community project that helps people to find and make new friends and get out more. It is for people aged 50 and over who live in LS16 or LS17 and who can get out and about on their own. You can be matched with people who have similar interests to your own and there may even be opportunities for like-minded people to meet up for group activities such as shared meals and entertainment. You can refer yourself to the project or be referred by family members or professionals. Contact either Lisa Wilson by phone 0798 614 258 or email lisaw@maecare.org.uk, or Janet Onslow by phone 07498 614 227 or email janet@maecare.org.uk. You can also see their website.

Groups and services for people of all ages

#runandtalk is a social running group for anyone who wants to improve their mental wellbeing through running. Joining the group would also be helpful for people with mild to moderate anxiety or depression. The group is supported by a local running club, Hyde Park Harriers, and has seven mental health ambassadors with lived experience of mental health issues and conditions, who can provide a listening ear in a supportive, non judgemental environment.

Hollybush in Kirkstall is a great place to get outdoors and get some exercise. They have wildlife walks, gardening groups and also peer support workshops and courses (run by Leeds Mind).

The Urban Task Force project from New Wortley Community Centre is an outdoor community and environmental project. It aims to help people feel less isolated, as well as boosting physical and mental wellbeing. The group meets twice weekly and is for anyone aged 18 and over living in the Wortley or Armley area. You can download a flyer here. If you are interested in the outdoors, gardening and lots more, contact Mike Sims by calling 0747 241 5387 or emailing mike.sims@newwortleycc.org.

Guiseley Community Foundation run free men’s football and chat sessions in Nethermoor Park.

Mental Health Mates Leeds is a friendly peer support community group which meets monthly to walk, talk and share with others, without fear of judgement. Meet ups are held both online and in real life. In Leeds, they meet in Rounday Park near the Lakeside Cafe, or meet online for a chat using Zoom. Everyone has mental health so everyone is welcome! For the latest meet up information, email Michelle on hellomhmleeds@gmail.com, visit their Instagram page @mentalhealthmatesleeds, join the Facebook group ‘Mental Health Mates’ which features activity for all groups, including Leeds, or visit the Mental Health Mates website

Culture Club is for people with personal experience of mental health issues who want to see shows, plays, exhibitions, art events and more – with a friendly group.

Frazzled Cafe offers a safe, non-judgemental place for people who are feeling frazzled to meet on a regular basis to talk and share their personal stories.

Live Well Leeds – offers a range of services, including befriending. If you’re over 18, live in Leeds or are registered with a Leeds GP, and have mild to moderate mental health needs, you can refer yourself online, by phone, by post or in person.

Dosti is a safe and confidential support service improving women’s mental health in Leeds. It offers therapeutic group and individual support which is specific to meet the diverse needs of Asian women. The staff speak various Asian languages. Dosti offers a range of support, from courses to peer support, arts and crafts to health and fitness, English language and computer classes to confidence building and benefits advice to counselling. You can refer yourself to the service or be referred. See their website for more details, or contact the office at Touchstone on 0113 203 8893.

Touchstone Support Centre is for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) people who live in Leeds, who either have mental health needs, care for those with mental ill health or are at risk of developing mental ill health. The Centre supports people with a holistic approach that includes activity and social groups. You can find out about the support they offer, how to be referred and download a form on their website.

Mentally Healthy Leeds (MHL) is a preventative mental health service that works with people at risk of experiencing poor mental health. They aim to give people experience and understanding they can use to prevent problems developing or becoming too much to handle. Their service is delivered in a community development approach, so they treat individuals and communities as assets looking at what is strong, rather than what is wrong.

East Leeds Health for all (ELHFA) Better Together works within the heart of Lincoln Green to support the local community to help address health inequalities, reduce isolation and improve physical health and wellbeing. It provides a range of community groups and activities that have been developed with their service users, listening to what they want, where and when.

Your Space is a project which aims to support communities to support themselves and each other. It’s very much led by its members, from their ideas, their needs and (key to the success) their strengths.

Support groups and networks for new parents and parents to be can be found in the I am pregnant or a new parent section.

Connect Helpline offers emotional support and information every night for people in Leeds 6pm to 2am. Call Connect if you are feeling anxious, lonely, angry or just need to talk. Trained volunteers and workers provide compassionate, non-judgemental support and can give information about other services, if needed. Whatever your problems are – mental health, housing or money worries, caring for someone, bereavement or the end of a relationship – Connect can help. The service is also there for carers who need to talk to someone. Tel 0808 800 1212 (freephone)

The Samaritans – open 24 hours a day, the Samaritans will listen and help you find a way through. From relationships to money, health or family troubles – you can talk about whatever is getting to you at any time of the day or night. You don’t have to be suicidal to call. Tel 116 123 (freephone)

Unique Minds – a group for Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) men who live in Leeds, run by Touchstone and Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service. The group meets on Thursdays from 3pm to 5pm at Touchstone Support Centre, Harehills Lane, LS8 4EX. Contact them on 0113 260 9328 or email Patrick on patrick.gatewood@lslcs.org.uk for more information and to arrange an initial meeting if you wish to attend.

Sisterhood – a group for Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women aged 16+, who live in Leeds, run by Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service and Leeds Mind. The group meets on Mondays from 12pm to 3pm at the BAME Health & Wellbeing Hub, Reginald Terrace, Leeds, LS7 3EZ. Contact them on 0113 260 9328 or email Shayam on shayam.elsherbini@lslcs.org.uk for more information and to arrange an initial meeting if you wish to attend.