Combating loneliness, isolation and exclusion – together

Combating loneliness, isolation and exclusion – together

When ASNA (the Adventist Special Needs Association) relocated their administrative office into the Stanborough Press building at Alma Park, Grantham, the arrangement went much deeper than renting office space. Within a few weeks they and the Stanborough Press team found themselves working together towards a common goal – to combat loneliness, isolation and exclusion.

‘Through imaginative and creative thinking,’ says Sophia Nicholls, co-founder and director of ASNA UK, ‘the SPARCS Bookclub’ (Stanborough Press and ASNA Reading Club) is about to be launched this weekend, to encourage people to come together with a book from the Stanborough Press.’ Running under the motto, ‘A partnership between ASNA and the Stanborough Press’, SPARCS has the clear aim to make ‘community connections’ and save lives.

‘I agree,’ said Elisabeth Sangüesa, Stanborough Press General Manager: ‘We have found that, during lockdown, we have received several messages along the lines of: “I want to see my friend, but cannot because of lockdown. Have you a book you can send on my behalf that will uplift and encourage them?” ’ With a warm smile, Elisabeth added, ‘So, instead of Interflora, we’ve become “Interbook”!’

According to a report by Cambridge University Press (Public Health Emergency Collection), ‘Loneliness is associated with various physical and mental repercussions, including elevated systolic blood pressure and increased risk for heart disease . . . even in middle-aged adults without a prior history of heart disease. Furthermore, research has shown that both loneliness and social isolation are independent risk factors for higher all-cause mortality.’1

‘One of the current issues ASNA is addressing is the pandemic of loneliness and the loss of social interaction,’ says Sophia, ‘which pivots right into the Stanborough Press’s theme for the year with its “life is better with books” motif.’ Recognising how challenging these times over the past year have been, Sophia continued, ‘While nothing can fully replace our longing to connect and be in the presence of another human being, there is a sense in which, with a book, we are never alone.’

Hugely impressed with the breadth of subject matter available, Sophia sees ‘SPARCS Bookclub’ as especially able to provide help and support for carers, from the practical to the emotional, and even the spiritual.

On 1 May SPARCS will release the name of the first book for the national book club. This will be released on the ASNA and Stanborough Press social media channels, including the websites.

With 20 copies to give away for free – to the first 20 book clubs that contact us – we know that SPARCS is the beginning of a journey that is going to provide a ministry that will bless and bless again.

  • To register for the free book, please follow this link:

  • For more information, send your questions to:
  • To see the conversation of Nigel and Sophia Nicholls with Elisabeth Sangüesa, click here:



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