Publish date: 15 May 2022

Advia shares how a group of friends, volunteers and refugees found a way to help eachother tackle loneliness in their spare time. 

“We’re a collective of friends, volunteers, refugees, and interested individuals who have come together in the spirit of community and integration. Hailing from different walks of life, the founding group of Welcome Presents was formed while volunteering in the Calais ‘Jungle’.

Loneliness, isolation and prejudice are issues affecting newcomers and Londoners alike. So when we came together to support refugees arriving to the UK, we knew everyone could benefit. Individuals newly arriving are often heavily isolated and spend long periods of time on their own. They go from being amongst their community to a new and unfamiliar place, new people and a new language. Feelings of loneliness are exacerbated by all these factors.

Having the opportunity to find a safe space to meet people and break barriers of isolation is the best way to fight loneliness.

We, with the support of wonderful volunteers and amazing chefs host a monthly event to screen a film, provide a supper style dinner and a Q&A with the hopes of bringing people together to share different cultures, delicious food and a shared humanity. All of this gives us the opportunity to break away from prejudices and tackle loneliness.”

Advia Ahmed
Grenfell Dedicated Worker

Visit our website to see how other staff and service users observed Mental Health Awareness Week 2022. There’s also information on where to find support in this article.