A YOUTH club is tackling loneliness in young people with a pioneering new course.

Zac’s Youth Bars is running a ten-week programme, called Connect, in October, and is looking for young people to take part.

The aim of the course is ‘to connect young people with other young people’ after research showed one in three young people in Bolton are lonely. The course will involve activities which strengthen social skills such as theatre, music and outdoor pursuits, organisers say. The first phase of the Connect course has come to an end this week and Jade Collinson, who works with youngsters at Zac’s, said there’s been a positive response. She said: “It’s been really good. Our 13 to 18 age group have finished and the reviews from them have been really positive.

“Out of seven that have completed our survey afterwards, five of them have said they’ve had a decrease in loneliness and the other two said they’ve stayed the same.

“Five have also said they plan to return to Zac’s to take part in weekly sessions.”

The course was set up on the back of a survey by Zac’s, which found that a third of 11 to 18-year-olds in Bolton said that they nearly always feel lonely.

There are three groups; ten to 12-year-olds, 13 to 18-year-olds and a Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) group of ten to 18-year-olds.

Ms Collinson added: “The SEND one is almost full for October, a couple have signed up for the 13 to 18s as well, but the ten to 12 age group is still wide open.”

To refer somebody, call 01204 706200 or email listening@zacsyouthbar.co.uk.