The Big Idea: reducing loneliness and isolation through launching an annual Talk to me London Day to encourage people to speak to complete strangers.
Hello! I'm Ann Don Bosco FRSA. Along with fellow co-founder Polly Akhurst, I run Talk to me London, a not-for-profit that seeks to find ways to get people talking in London. Polly and I started Talk to me London because we believe in a world where people should feel able to talk to each other.
It can be hard to connect in a big city like London. It often seems like everyone is in a rush and it can be tricky to strike up a conversation. We think this is not only a shame but that it's also having a detrimental impact on our society. We see incredibly high levels of isolation with over 25% of Londoners say they feel lonely often if not all of the time. We see London voted as one of the most unfriendly cities in the world. And we see people brush past each other and not see each other as humans. It’s because we’ve lost our sense of commonality – our community.
We want to change this. And we want to do it through talking.
We believe in the power of conversations. One conversation can make you happier. It can inspire you. It can make you understand another point of view or it can just make you feel a little less alone.
We believe in the power of conversations. One conversation can make you happier. It can inspire you. It can make you understand another point of view or it can just make you feel a little less alone. Talking is what makes us human and what enables us to connect to each other. We want to harness its power to make London a better place. We're raising money for a Talk to me London Day in August 2014. The day aims to put the importance of talking and its link to broader social issues such as well-being and community connectedness on the agenda. On the day we’ll use badges, stunts, events, flash mobs and public art to encourage Londoners to chat to people they don't know.
Since launching our Kickstarter campaign just over a week ago, we've been overwhelmed by the positive response we’ve had so far. We've been featured in Time Out's blog and Kickstarter's global newsletter. And just today a controversial piece written about us in the Guardian has prompted many people to express their opinions on the subject of Londoners not talking to each other. We've also received messages from all over the world, such as this one: "I love this. I've never even been to London, but I backed this project just now. This is a problem in many cities across the world, and it would be wonderful to start changing our culture."
We're now close to reaching our initial Kickstarter target, but ideally we want to reach it as soon as possible and surpass it so we can show how many people are behind this idea - and to prove to our cynical Guardian commentator that Londoners really do want to talk! With more money, we can make the day bigger and better, and truly London-wide.
We have the RSA to thank for helping us get our project of the ground. We worked with the RSA's Connected Communities team to run a pilot project, Talk to me SE London Week, and we're now being supported with our crowd-funding campaign through the RSA Catalyst scheme.
How you can help
What we need now is for you to join us. Show that you believe that the power of talking can make us happier, less alone and more connected. Please help us make Talk to me London Day 2014 a reality by donating and sharing our Talk to me London Kickstarter page with your friends. Thank you!
Ann Don Bosco FRSA
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