Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

The social groups coming together to tackle loneliness in Scotland’s young women

© Amanda Hemphill PhotographyMembers connect at the Glasglow Girls Club.
Members connect at the Glasglow Girls Club.

With smartphones glued to their hands and the whole world literally at their fingertips through ever-growing social media platforms, it is hard to imagine today’s young women ever feeling alone.

However, the most recent figures analysed by Campaign to End Loneliness showed more young people aged between 16 and 29 report chronic loneliness than any other age group.

It also found loneliness was higher in women. Just least year, a YouGov survey found that 92% of students experience loneliness at some point during their time at university, with 53% saying they wouldn’t feel comfortable asking for help.

The Sunday Post wants to establish Scotland’s Big Braw Community; calling for politicians, businesses, charities and individuals to unite in a bid to halve chronic loneliness by 2030.

Now that both work and play are becoming more and more digital-led, young women are finding it harder to form true connections in the real world.

We spoke to three women who are doing their bit to make sure they have a safe place to come together and feel a little less lonely.

Girls Who Walk Edinburgh

Girls Who Walk Edinburgh events have boosted the confidence of members. © Supplied
Girls Who Walk Edinburgh events have boosted the confidence of members.

Growing up, Alexa Manganiello got used to being alone.

“My family was very broken, people moved all over and I wasn’t really with my siblings,” she said.

“I think that got in the way psychologically, I struggled to make friends. I guess no one really knows why they feel lonely, but sometimes there just aren’t many people for you. It has been disheartening at times to make the effort but not find anyone who is like you.”

The 22 year old always imagined her social life would flourish once she started university in Edinburgh, but the pandemic meant it wasn’t quite so simple.

“My first two years were in peak Covid so that was already hard,” said Alexa. “I found the whole university thing quite overwhelming, it was nothing like I expected.”

When Alexa came across Girls Who Walk on Instagram, she was instantly keen to set up a branch in Edinburgh.

The group started in Manchester but has since spread across the UK, inviting women to come together for anything from a walk to a pottery painting class or yoga. Around 25 women came along on the first walk Alexa organised in October, but by the third, there were more than 100. As the group has grown, so have conversation topics, friendship groups and confidence levels.

“I have had girls come up to me and tell me how much it has boosted their confidence or how many friends they have made,” said Alexa.

“A lot of girls said their social anxiety would get in the way of them meeting people, and that is something I have struggled with myself, so it’s amazing to have created an environment where people who feel like that can come along.

“It’s like exposure therapy, we all turn up nervous but you realise how welcoming it is and that feeling goes away. You have to take that step and see there’s nothing to be worried about.”

The Girls and Life

The Girls and Life is dedicated to bringing its members together to form real-life friendships. © Supplied
The Girls and Life is dedicated to bringing its members together to form real-life friendships.

It wasn’t until after she left university that Zoe Daniel realised how difficult it can be to make new friends, especially in a smaller city like Aberdeen.

“After leaving university I had friends living across the country and that changed the nature of my friendships,” said the 25 year old.

“We are telling each other about our lives rather than living them together like we used to. You go into a workplace and it can be hard to form proper friendships because there’s that level of professionalism. Outside of work though, where do you make friends?”

She added: “I also think we are more of a sober-curious generation now. Alcohol is like a social lubricant, it makes it easier to put yourself out there, but now we have to find new spaces to make friends that are fun and authentic.”

When her friend, Antonette, said on her social media that she was keen to meet like-minded girls in their 20s and got an overwhelming response, Zoe was quick to get involved. Together they formed The Girls and Life, a social group dedicated to making friends.

They hosted their first brunch meet-up in December and have found that simple things like coffee dates, walks and quiz nights have been the most popular among members. Interest continues to grow and the group chat is constantly flooded with chatter and advice sharing.

Zoe said: “It’s just about making a safe and fun environment. As a team who run it, we are really intentional about going to new people and chatting to them.

“With group things you have to be careful it doesn’t become too cliquey. At each event we have an ice-breaker, like question cards to help people start conversations. It can be daunting coming to events alone and not knowing anyone, but I have been shocked by how many have done so. Watching those girls come back each time and make friends has been lovely to see.”

Glasglow Girls Club

Glasglow Girls Club founder Laura Maginess © Shots by Sherrie
Glasglow Girls Club founder Laura Maginess.

The Glasglow Girls Club (GGC) has more than 44,000 members on its Facebook group, but founder Laura Maginess realises how important it is to bring those connections into the real world.

“I see people messaging back and forth and it never really comes to anything, but going along to events can help because nothing beats that in-person energy,” she said.

Laura started the group in 2016 with a background in marketing and a childhood obsession with online chatrooms behind her. A year later, the community had grown so much that she decided to make it her full-time job. What started as a social club grew into more once Laura was running her own business.

“I felt like a fish out of water and so lonely,” she said. “I had gone from having a team around me to bounce ideas off to it literally being me and my dog in the house. I needed people. I had a great group of friends but they didn’t have their own businesses and it’s a really different way of life. It’s good to be able to chat to someone who gets it.”

The GGC now has two different membership types for social and business. While the online group is still free to join, the membership gives women access to everything from business networking events to hikes and brunch clubs.

Laura said: “We are a total mixture of women, I think that is where the beauty lies. There are members who have started businesses and podcasts together, and who have been bridesmaids for each other or go on holiday together.

“I have a few good friends in the group now who are self-confessed introverts, but they have really come out of their shells through the events.”