Our need for social connection is at the heart of what it is to be human. It's as essential to our health and wellbeing as it is to the vitality of our communities and places of work. It has inspired many of the most successful innovations of the modern day. With ever more efficient ways to communicate and transact, many of us have experienced a rapid increase in the number and reach of our personal and professional connections. And yet, despite these growing networks, we find ourselves increasingly disconnected, and many more of us are feeling alone.

In this Cares Family pamphlet, published in partnership with Nesta, 12 new stories paint a rich and varied picture of the many faces of loneliness and what it means to feel disconnected from those around you. They illustrate how differences – like age, race, culture and nationality – are being used to define and divide our communities and, through the writers’ experiences, we’re reminded of what it feels like to be lonely, particularly at times of change and loss.

But the stories also give us much to be hopeful about. Written by some of the pioneers helping people and communities to connect across the UK, they show us how powerful it can be to share time with others – whether it’s a quick chat in the park or an opportunity to build a deeper friendship over time.

There is no one single solution to finding connection in a disconnected age, and so we all need to play our part. We hope that these stories will help to inspire people to act. Whether we choose to join or create a local group, or simply find more opportunities for conversation as we go about our days, we all have an opportunity to bring connection back into our communities and into our disconnected lives.