Since 2017, we have been working with the Co-op Foundation on Common Ground, which uses community connecting as an approach to tackle youth loneliness and build connections between young disabled people and their non-disabled peers. For 2020 our aim was to connect and empower young people and start a conversation around social isolation and youth loneliness, particularly in relation to people with a profound and multiple learning disability. Too often the social isolation and loneliness that young people with a profound and multiple learning disability experience is defined by their disability, which can be all the more isolating. Changing Our Lives want to help young people to understand loneliness as a shared human experience by connecting young people and embedding human rights within the work.

Upon shifting to a virtual delivery we re-designed the project and launched a social media campaign called “Your New Normal, My Normal.” Throughout the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve seen an increased awareness of loneliness. Some people are saying they are feeling lonely and isolated from their communities and families, donning the phrase “the new normal”. For some young people, these feelings of loneliness are the everyday normal. We sought to raise awareness of this by capturing the stories of young disabled people and their non-disabled peers through the arts. We asked young people to submit work that explored the themes of:

  • My normal - an insight into your everyday

  • Barriers - what stops you from having friendships?

  • Loneliness - what does loneliness look like for you?

The range of different artworks created in response to this project featured on our social media channels throughout the course of the campaign. The campaign also resulted in a new, online exhibition with Wolverhampton Art Gallery featuring the original artworks of young people.

You can view the artworks in our online gallery below:

My normal