Improving Social Connectedness: A World of Different Initiatives
Inspired to build social connectedness in you own community, but not sure where to start? Communities across the globe have come up with a variety of innovative approaches to fostering connection. Here’s a glimpse at the wide variety of unique initiatives out there:
In 2015, the Scottish Government funded fourteen innovative projects that aimed to make a positive difference in the lives of people with learning disabilities, with four projects funded under the ‘social connectedness’ theme. Projects included Aberdeenshire’s Fit’s for Supper, an inter-generational and multi-ability supper club which brought together community members to dine together, while also training a group of community members in preparing a new dish for the diners each week. A how-to guide for the projects, including lessons learned and tips for success, is available online (pdf).
The Gatehouse Project is a comprehensive strategy to increase social connectedness and improve mental health in a school setting. The project has identified three priority areas for action: building a sense of security and trust; enhancing skills and opportunities for communication and social connectedness; and building a sense of positive regard through valued participation in school life. Learn more here.
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A.
A project underway in the Greater Richmond Area aims to identify individuals and communities that may be at a higher risk of social isolation. This project is working in partnership with the community and local university to create a framework that identifies global best practices. Find out more here.
Hepburn Shire, Australia
Hepburn Shire Council provides a number of opportunities for people to become engaged in social activities, including group and one-to-one programs that focus on reconnecting people to the community. One of their programs, Activities in Motion (AIM), works directly with individuals to reconnect them to community life by helping them to get involved in local activities and community-based services of interest to them. Read more here.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness works to increase social connectedness within and between communities through multi-sectoral partnerships. The centre conducts research, supports programming, convenes learning initiatives, and advocates for inclusive policy changes. Find out about their initiatives here.