Lonely Not Alone - Safeguarding & Privacy

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The safety of children, teenagers and young adults interacting with the Lonely Not Alone campaign is our top priority. We hope the information provided here will answer any questions you have about our campaign.  

Please contact Sophie if you have any further questions.  


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About Lonely Not Alone 

Lonely Not Alone is a campaign made by young people, for young people, to tackle the stigma of youth loneliness. We are a Co-op Foundation campaign, created in partnership with specialist creative co-design agency, Effervescent. 

We co-designed our campaign with young people because we believe they are the best people to create work around this topic that is authentic and honest; and that can help other young people identify potential ways out of their loneliness. 

Any piece of work looking to create long-term change will take time to achieve. Since 2019, we’ve focused on creating empathy and understanding of what loneliness is, how it feels, and the ways some young people have found to cope with it.  

Although we stopped promoting the campaign at the end of 2023, we hope by keeping the digital universe live, we can help young people who are lonely to find ways to help themselves and each other.  We hope people who have not experienced loneliness will understand how challenging it can be, and how they can help. 

Read this blog by the Co-op Foundation to find out why we’ve stopped promoting the campaign. 

Campaign partners 

The Co-op Foundation  

The Co-op Foundation is Co-op’s charity. They believe co-operation is at the heart of strong communities and that makes them a different kind of funder. They work closely with communities, listening and learning from them.  

The Co-op Foundation has been tackling youth loneliness since 2017 when Co-op and British Red Cross research found young people were lonely more often than any other age group. Since then, they’ve awarded more than £7m to projects that connect and empower young people and helped to build networks and resources to support youth workers. They launched Lonely Not Alone in 2019 to complement this funding work by tackling the stigma of loneliness among young people aged 10 to 25-years-old. 

Partnership with Effervescent 

Since 2019, Effervescent – a charity that specialised in developing and creating campaigns with young people who have lived through painful or traumatic experiences   – were commissioned to work directly with young people and support them to use their lived experience of loneliness to help themselves and their peers. 

Effervescent has now closed, but if you’d like to find out more about their methodology and impact, please reach out to Eloïse Bella Day 

Lonely Not Alone is committed to keeping children and young people safe from harm however they interact with our campaign. 

Below we set out in plain English the processes we have in place to support and protect young people who engage with this site. 

Thank you to our colleagues at Barnardo’s who advised us on safeguarding; and thanks to RSBC and Mencap who also advised us on making this site as accessible and meaningful as possible. 

This website has been designed in full partnership with young people aged 12 – 24.  This means that they have come up with the initial idea and worked alongside professionals to build the experience. 

The technical bits 

When young people share their personal information 

When young people chose to share a story on the Lonely Not Alone website (https://lonelynotalone.org) they shared their age and email address, but not their name.  We verified their email address as part of the story submission process. No other data is collected. Their email address is used to: 

  • Keep the young person informed about the progress of their story through the publishing process 
  • Share information on where that young person might get extra support with the things they discuss in their story 

We have ensured that every young person who submits their story to the site can remain anonymous to other site visitors. 

The law requires us to share with you how we use your information. 

When site visitors shared their story, it was made clear to them that it will remain on the website for as long as the website is live, or until they request for it to be removed. Everyone has the right to be forgotten, and users can request for their data to be removed at any time by emailing sophie.beresford@coop.co.uk The data users submit as part of the process will be stored on a secure server and encrypted in rest and in flight. The server is protected by a roll-based user name and password, is restricted to UK IP and can only be accessed by specified individuals. Data will not be shared. 

Emails were sent to users from within the database and from Mailchimp. Data exported to Mailchimp will have been deleted on upload. All emails to site visitors include a link to unsubscribe, and have their data deleted. Audio stories – but no accompanying personal data – will have been exported to Telbee for audio editing. You can find Telbee’s Privacy notice here. 

You can also find the Lonely Not Alone campaign Privacy Notice here.  Please note that this Privacy Notice complements this Safeguarding & Privacy Policy. 

Ticking the “I’m happy for my story to be shared anonymously in media, newsletters and social media” box 

If you ticked the “I’m happy for my story to be shared anonymously in media, newsletters and social media” box when you submitted your story, we may have shared your story in these ways. Your story will be completely anonymised and nobody will know it is yours.  If your story contains any names (of yourself, or other people) they won’t have been shared. Lonely Not Alone social media channels are Twitter – @lonelynotalone, Facebook – @lonelynotaloneuk and Instagram – @lonelynotalone, Tik Tok @lonelynotaloneuk  


Stories from children 12 years old, or younger 

We wanted to include as many children’s stories as possible, so we allowed children who are 12 or younger to submit stories – we believe this is helpful and honours children’s efforts in sharing their experience. 

However, children under 13 can’t take part in social media apps, so if we identify that a story has been submitted by a child who is 12 years or younger, we’ll have sent a specific email flow for them inviting them to immediately reach out for help and support with their experiences, giving some suggestions of who to talk to, and how to reach them. 

Children under the age of 13 will not have been invited to take part in the Discord Group chats with other young people, and will not have been invited to engage with the campaign on social media as we don’t expect them to be using social media. 

What we’ve done with young people’s stories 

When young people shared their stories with us, we sent an automated email that signposts them to sources of immediate help and support.  These sources of help are specifically tailored for children, teenagers, and young adults, and are available by text and by phone 24hours-a-day. This is to protect and support young people who may have just shared their story for the first time, and may have been left with complex feelings to work through. 

Our team then read or listened to each individual story and ‘sorted’ the story into one of 10 constellations, before publication. Our team are trained in safeguarding children, teenagers, and vulnerable adults. 

If we had cause for concern, and believe a child is in immediate danger, or might harm another child we won’t have published that story.  Because we only ask young people for their age and email address, we will not have been able to contact the police and/or the local authority where they live. However, we will have emailed the young person, sharing the details of Childline and The Samaritans, and encouraged them to reach out and talk to a trusted adult. We will also have shared with the young person that if they or another child or young person is in immediate danger, they should call 999. 

Should a young person share more details about themselves then we might have contacted the police directly ourselves. 

If we saw or heard information within the story that would identify this, or any other young person, we will have removed that information. Stories submitted by audio have a filter applied over the top to slightly change the voice and help anonymise the storyteller. 

When we published a story 

Once a young person’s story has been published, we will have sent them an email with relevant and targeted sources of support specific to the issues they have described in their story.  For example, if the story is about being a young person in the care system, we will have signposted them to the national charity for children in care, Become. 

If a story contains information which may trigger a strong emotional reaction in someone reading it, that story will have been flagged with a content warning with a word or two about the specific nature of the content, and website visitors can choose to open the story, or to skip over it to the next story.