Tackling loneliness

Kate Armitage

By Kate Armitage

January 19th 2016 at 4:30PM
UPDATED January 19th 2016 at 4:49PM
Tackling loneliness

Kate Armitage, director of marketing at Gibsons, explains why the firm is teaming up with Carillion Libraries to launch Puzzle & Games Clubs aimed at combating loneliness.

The news these days is plagued by the word ‘loneliness’, and for many it is hard for us to see how people today can be lonely.

The numbers in the news can be quite shocking.

There are many charities out there to help tackle the problem, but as a small, family-run business, we felt it was important to get involved.

Gibsons is my family’s games and puzzle business, which dates back to 1919. During this time we have watched the toy and games industry evolve, but there is a generation of people out there who cherish the nostalgia that traditional puzzles and games bring.

This year, we are teaming up with Carillion Libraries to launch Puzzle & Games Clubs as part of our Piecing Together the Community social initiative. The Puzzle & Games Clubs, designed to combat loneliness, have launched in London libraries to bring local people together through their love of puzzles and games.

Loneliness can have a significant impact on one’s mental well-being and can contribute to many mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression.

We worked with psychologist, Rebecca Harris, from University of Bolton who said: “Loneliness has been linked to poor health so it is important to address the rising levels of loneliness in the UK. Increasing activities in the community that help people reconnect with others and forge new friendships is an important starting point to tackling the loneliness epidemic.

“The Gibsons partnership with libraries in London provides those in the local community place to come together and bond.”

We decided to partner with Carillion Libraries because of their focus on and passion for helping their local communities. They were looking to offer different clubs to encourage people to come together and puzzles and games were the perfect fit.

We are piloting the scheme in four London libraries, before rolling out to a wider area. The clubs have been very well-received and many have requested they are run more regularly.

Shut the Box and Chinese Chequers were the most popular as they require between two to six players, which meant that many visitors could get involved.

Furthermore, as the clubs were promoted through social media and local newspapers, we have had a few requests from the general public asking if they can host clubs in their cafes or pubs, as they loved the idea of bringing their local communities together.