Making a difference Laura had been moved around a lot throughout her life as a result of being in care and struggled to make friends. Talking to new people felt like a real challenge. At times it was just a step too far. “I had anxiety and didn’t feel confident meeting new people,” remembers Laura, now 17 and living in Greater Manchester. “I thought they would discriminate against me because I’m a care leaver. I used to stay in rather than socialise. That’s when I used to get lonely and feel depressed.” It’s these feelings that Laura has now faced head on, thanks to the support of our Youth Co-operative Action project, supported by the Co-operative Foundation. All the young people involved have worked together to create a drama performance all about the impact that loneliness has had on their lives, showcasing their own unique talents in the process. Take a look at the video below to see how their debut performance went. Real impact “Acting out how loneliness affects us all has really helped,” says Laura with a smile. “I try not to be shy anymore.” It's this change in confidence that all the project staff notice about Laura, and it’s something she recognises in herself too. “I don’t worry as much about what people think of me now. I’m going to try and socilalise with other people more.” She also credits the project with helping her feel like she’s not alone anymore. “Before I started I hadn’t realised what a big issue loneliness was. It’s affects all ages, young and elderly people.” She also talks enthusiastically about the new friends she’s made, and the bond that they’ve all developed, “they got me involved. I felt cared for and supported.” The future Working co-operatively as part of a team has had a big influence in Laura’s enjoyment of the project and she now feels able to help other people who are suffering from loneliness. “My awareness of the difference that co-ops can make is huge now. I feel confident about finding solutions to loneliness and would feel comfortable talking to others about it.” As part of our centenary year we’re asking you to give what you can so that we can help more young people in care just like Laura. Without your support, we simply won’t be able to continue this life changing work. Every penny you can give will help us do more projects just like this, transforming the lives of those involved. Your donation will go straight into our Future Pioneers Fund which supports our charitable work. Donate To protect the identity of those involved in this case study, we've altered personal information such as name and age.