In 2019 Youmanity put out a call for submissions for its annual photography competition entitled Friend-Ship: Together for the Journey. The aim of this competition was to reclaim the importance of friendship, to help counter mental health issues associated with loneliness and social isolation.
The value of human connection became the more important with the onset of Covid-19. Travel restrictions, followed by lockdowns, caused significant distress to many people. As if this were not bad enough, the pandemic resulted in a huge loss of lives. People succumbing to the infection were isolated, with many more died alone.
Our Friend-Ship project then became a social awareness campaign and ran for the next three years. We promoted human connection by inviting participants worldwide to submit a photo that celebrated friends and friendships.
Friends are vital to our lives and for our mental health. We go on an incredible journey with friends and survive adversity standing by them. According to the World Health Organisation, every year 800,000 people take their own lives. This is why the Friend-Ship project is important.
The Friend-Ship photography competition received thousands of entries from many different countries. A shortlist of images were then selected and out of these 20 photographs were put forward for an exhibition at the House of Commons. In October we were delighted to learn that our proposal was approved for an exhibition in December. ‘Stories of Friendship’ was showcased in the Upper Waiting Hall of the House of Commons between 9-16th December.
“At a time when the world is devided by the effects of war, being able to rely on friends and neighbours for mutual support and understanding, is hugely important,” says Angelo Iudice, founder of Youmanity.
Youmanity would like to thank Karen Buck MP and Andy Slaughter MP for sponsoring and hosting the Stories of Friend-Ship at the House of Commons.
Our grateful thanks go to Councillor Maggie Carman for her generous support and friendship.