Take pride in your city: Tackling loneliness and isolation

As with many cities, Dundee faces issues around litter, dog fouling and fly tipping. To address these problems Dundee City Council runs a ‘Take Pride in Your City’ community campaign which aims to encourage everybody to take pride in Dundee by helping to make a difference in our neighbourhoods, the city centre, parks, sports pitches, cemeteries, woodland, open spaces and beaches. The ‘Take Pride’ campaign also encourages initiatives aiming to improve schools and covers the University too.

But what motivates individuals to engage with their local community and to take pride in it? Various commentators and research suggest that as we live our lives and interact increasingly in digital spaces that more traditional forms of social connection are drifting apart. Issues of isolation and loneliness are heightened and have been compounded by the Covid pandemic. Doctors are now actively promoting social prescribing to patients encouraging them to join walking groups and community groups to help improve health and wellbeing.

The Challenge

How can we encourage individuals to discover and connect with others in their communities, to come together and look after their local community and environment?

The West End of Dundee has a significant issue with litter and there have been local initiatives trying to address this involving the University. How can we build on these initiatives and develop them into longer term sustainable solutions?

What approaches can be taken to help foster engagement across our University community and help to address disconnectedness and isolation and foster well-being and good mental health whilst developing pride in our campus and city?