Our Social Enterprise Project
The Team's Social Enterprise
Launched in 2016, Team Norse Thunder started as a group of students playing games after moving away from home led to feelings of loneliness. Since then, the team has grown into a fully-fledged social enterprise focusing on helping people from across the Midlands overcome social isolation using the power of gaming. The team helps people ignite their spark and find their passion, all while helping them develop critical life skills that really can change lives!
In the summer of 2020, the team secured a near-£5,000 grant from UnLtd to help launch a community-focused gaming venue. While the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the opening, online events took place and a community grew up around them. Once the venue is open it will provide a safe space for people to come, make friends, and build connections in a bid to fight off social isolation and the problems it causes.
As well as the gaming venue, Team Norse Thunder also runs other projects across the West Midlands region. Some of the projects take place in community facilities, like libraries and cafes to encourage people to connect with their local area, while others use games as a way to help people improve their maths and English skills.
Social Isolation and Loneliness
While many people take having a group of friends and close family around them for granted, others lack those connections, and that has a devastating impact on their lives as a result. As well as the impact on the individual, it's a major problem for society too.
Social isolation is a long term lack of meaningful connections with other people, and it goes beyond the feeling of loneliness, though the two things are often linked. Social isolation has a major impact on someone's everyday life, harming their decision-making abilities, attention span capability, long term memory skills, and over time, it leads to an increase in aggressive behaviour.
Social isolation can directly lead to serious mental health issues with increases in suicidal thoughts and depressive episodes all reported, while studies have shown that someone experiencing the condition is more likely to suffer from other conditions like dementia, heart disease, and stroke. Meanwhile, they are likely to achieve lower grades in education, have lower employment prospects, and when the effects are all combined, things can really begin to spiral.
Around a quarter of the UK's young people feel they lack companionship and are left out of things, almost 30% feel isolated, and around the same feel lonely often or all of the time. With all the risks that being socially isolated carries, a third of an entire generation are set to be worse off in terms of education, employment, and health, and that's a major concern for society as a whole. The COVID-19 pandemic is only storing up more problems for society.
Combating Social Isolation with Games
There are lots of different things that can lead to someone becoming socially isolated, but Team Norse Thunder is on a mission to do its part to combat them to help people get back on track.
The team's projects are built around games for a number of different reasons: As well as being tactile, shared experiences, they are strategy-based which encourages the development and use of logic-based and strategic thinking. Games are also an excellent tool for learning and improving maths and English skills while encouraging soft and social skills.
Whether it’s in a casual or competitive setting, players build a network of friends, improve their communication skills, and develop a sense of belonging and achievement. When it's all put together with education, training, and employment opportunities, there's a real game-changer on offer!