Mental Health, Loneliness and UK Government’s Policy of Wimbledon

Introduction:

Loneliness, one of the most felt emotions by individuals, has a considerable impact on their social and psychological wellbeing. Around 46% of adults in England experience loneliness occasionally or more often, according to the Department for Culture, Media, and Sports Community life survey 2018-19 (CommonsLibrary, 2020). According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, social needs, and need of love/belongingness play a key role in shaping an individual’s behaviour (Maslow & Press, 2019). The fulfilment of these needs helps individuals to ward-off errands of life. Hence, people connect through social relationships, seek positive energy and share thoughts, feelings, and emotions (Montez, 2010). In the UK, social events are organized on a national and international level to keep the UK society connected with other cultures, people, and communities of similar interest. Wimbledon is one such event that attracts sophisticated sports culture enthusiasts and invites them to become a part of entertaining matches of tennis. The event is organized every year by AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club) with a series of lawn tennis matches (VisitLondon, 2020). The history turns back to 1886 when AELTC was established to lay the foundation of official sports events in the UK (Wimbledon, 2020). As a result, the culture of Wimbledon is sophisticated with century-old, settled norms of dressing, presence, food, and entertainment. In this essay, the UK government’s policy of tackling loneliness is analyzed from the perspective of mental health and wellbeing of communities as a result of the Wimbledon event. The part four of the policy, i.e. the role of government to build national conversation, tackling the stigma of loneliness and improving mental health and supporting community groups to thrive (HW Group, 2018) is emphasized in the analysis. A set of recommendation is also designed for AELTC to improve the positive contribution of Wimbledon to the firm, emotionally stable society of the UK.

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Analysis:

In 2018, the Prime Minister of the UK approved the report of Jo Cox Commission on loneliness and its implications on the society (Asthana, 2017). Although the policy formation techniques typically include ideologies that are deep-rooted in the values, philosophies, and religious beliefs, however, every policy is under the influence of societal norms, government laws, funding bodies, lobbies, media, tourist boards and PESTLE (political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental) factors. Therefore, the tackling loneliness policy has been coherently defined under these factors because according to Jo Cox commission report, loneliness is influencing UK society adversely (Asthana, 2017).

In the policy document, the government officially recognized that as a result of loneliness, people are at increased risk of stroke, depression, obesity, Alzheimer and other diseases (Jo Cox, 2018). The surfacing world of digital interactions for personal, business and leisure purposes has reduced physical social gatherings and influenced mental health and well-being of communities adversely. Therefore, the policy of tackling loneliness was designed, which has various dimensions. It begins with the statistics of loneliness, causes and implications and moves towards government’s actions in collaboration with healthcare bodies, community builders and socialist experts to set the community infrastructure for enhancing the mental health of the UK citizens (HW Group, 2018). Thus, the policy entails possible government actions to tackle the stigma and support community groups to thrive. The latter part of the policy is selected to be analyzed in relation to Wimbledon events that are already aimed to develop social interactions on national and international platforms using power theory as a key concept.

Wimbledon recognizes the power of the event over the audience and stakeholders’ behavioural shaping and thinking patterns. Every year, millions of people view Wimbledon series of matches (AlPhonso, 2018). The structural approach towards power asserts that the positive sum of power is the primary outcome of any event. Therefore, Wimbledon also works on a similar pattern and brings people on one platform to develop mutual social interest and shape a society which is indulged in healthy activities like sports.

Poulantza’s power theory states that power is a consequence of class (Barrow, 2016). It is a Marxist perspective that power exists independent of individuals and is mainly found in certain groups of society. The UK’s policy of tackling loneliness asserts that individuals from every class undergo sufferings of loneliness and pain (UK Gov, 2018). The need of feeling loved and associated with someone remains one of the most understood needs of individuals, and therefore, it is essential to work on community-building events. The power theory of Poulantza also asserts that power exists in every individual and community (Barrow, 2016). Hence, the Wimbledon event recognizes the power of arranging a social gathering in the name of Lawn tennis matches which can bring people together. For example, Wimbledon tickets are expensive but to cater masses for experiencing this distinct social gathering, the Wimbledon management arranges public ballot to buy tickets at a lower cost. People gather in masses and launch their own tent houses to wait for the ballot and stand in a queue to purchase match tickets at lower prices (Elkins, 2019). The experience of attending social events and residing in tents alleviate the loneliness of people and let them experience social interactions to meet intrinsic emotional needs.

The UK’s policy of tackling loneliness officially recognizes that loneliness is a stigmatized term. People refuse to confess that they feel lonely and yet feel excited whenever a social event happens, which allow public participation. In 2019, the Wimbledon attendance was recorded 500,397 (for 13 days), which shows people’s inclination to attend social events (Wimbledon HC, 2020). The event successfully commemorates the fact that it is essential to indulge people through national conversation (the event) with the support of communities and social bodies. As recognized by chapter 4 of the policy, it is crucial to develop opportunities that can allow people to socialize and link with an inclusive culture. Wimbledon enables people from every culture, ethnicity, class, and stature to become a part of the event (Wilson, 2017). The primary purpose of Wimbledon is aligned with the policy of tackling loneliness which is aimed to build strong, integrated communities. The policy asserts that people need local clubs, groups and events, as well as societies with shared interests which can surpass geographic boundaries and individual cultural manifestations (CommonsLibrary, 2020). Therefore, the power theory is softly embedded by event management which allows people to become part of an elite sports event which connects people to a larger social gathering (tennis matches) and depict strong, unbiased societal culture.

The policy of tacking loneliness is aimed to include every age group and community. It works by reducing/preventing loneliness of people by involving them in activities that can eradicate loneliness. UK’s digital, media, and sports society arranges events that invite the participation of volunteers and paid-participation to reduce loneliness from the lives of people (Wimbledon Guild, 2019). It is interesting to observe that ethics and sustainability are carefully embedded in the policy programs by scaling up or joining with local provisions to reduce loneliness. For example, the uniformed youth programs such as scouts, guides, and sea cadets are introduced to give more room to disadvantaged young people to be inclusive in social activities. The programs are allocated with £7 million Uniformed Youth Fund to arrange resources for youth and communities (FundsUK, 2020). In this way, the stakeholders of events receive multiple benefits by participation, such as feeling connected, socialization, earning, and overall being prevented from loneliness.

The Marxist perspective of Poulantz power theory asserts that the ‘hierarchal domination’ of power-related commodities is one way to influence community behaviour. The UK policy of tackling loneliness has empowered event management commodities such as AELTC for gathering local and international public to attend events. The event management has the power to practice norms of Wimbledon, such as eating strawberry and fresh cream servings to enjoy and become a part of society’s most anticipated sports event (Potts, 2019). The participation of ball boys and girls is another exciting feature of Wimbledon’s activities which allows youth to show skills and get good pays in return. These norms of Wimbledon enable event managers to support grassroots opportunities for strengthening local social relationships and community ties. The policy states that 40% of people take part in meaningful community action which is precisely portrayed by 250 ball boys and girls hired by Wimbledon and contracting with farmers to supply freshly picked strawberries for the event.

Moreover, Wimbledon allows distinct communities to participate in the event and yield benefits of socialization. For example, impaired people with loss of sight were invited to volunteer at series matches to feel ‘inclusive’ in social events. At the Centre, volunteers have the opportunity to support the lead coach on the court by assisting with the games/drills that are being organized (Dot, 2016). However, Wimbledon is often criticized for being ‘biased’ to let male and female become stakeholders of event participation on an equal basis. For example, the policy of tackling loneliness yields the understanding of allowing everyone to be loved and social. However, Wimbledon was criticized for limiting female players to three-set matches. Along the same lines, the event management was also bashed for having false beliefs about women’s physical limitation and equal prize money judgments (Davies, 2017).

Recommendations:

Although the policy has mandated social event management companies to avoid discrimination, and the Wimbledon event has been successfully keeping the legacy of offering healthy sports activities for everyone, however, some parts of event’s policy such as controversy of gender bias have led to the following set of recommendations. These recommendations are aimed to enhance the performance of the Wimbledon event to improve compliance with loneliness tackling policy.

The first recommendation is to ensure the eradication of controversy of gender biases by keeping the policy fair and transparent. The policymakers, decision-makers, and jury should ensure that decisions are unbiased and free from the gender-oriented approach. Hence, it is recommended for top management to form the jury and select policymakers who are unbiased carefully. A crisp interview should be planned, which can reflect on personality orientation towards gender roles and biased approaches in decision making. Since Wimbledon has been through the controversy of distributing power unequally between male and female in prize money, the recommended action is to make careful decisions on recruiting policymakers.

The second recommendation for Wimbledon is to improve socialization by allowing the public to buy tickets through lucky draws in local shopping malls. The Poulantza’s power theory should be executed to divide the power equally among all fraternities of society. An average income earner and an elite sports lover should be given equal chances of winning tickets. Keeping aside the premium ticket category, the rest of Wimbledon match tickets should be sold through lucky draws to disseminate power equally among all commodities.

The third recommendation is to improve awareness about the official policy of tackling loneliness. Even in western society, expressing loneliness is considered a taboo. Therefore, people should be educated through Wimbledon marketing campaigns to understand the importance of attending social events and preventing each other from loneliness. The power of stakeholders to make the Wimbledon event successful should be used for the cause of raising awareness. Social inclusion should be one of the mainstream activities of Wimbledon marketing services. The policy of tackling loneliness should be highlighted, and event management should include people with deprived physical abilities to comply with ethical standards.

According to Poulantza’s power theory, power is a consequent of class structure, as per the Marxist approach (Comninel, 2013). Wimbledon event can work on their participant selection policy and the audience ticketing system to improve ‘inclusion’ of people from every class of society. The UK policy of tackling loneliness adheres to actions that can eradicate loneliness from society. Every class structure should be given a chance to become part of the Wimbledon audience and enjoy elite sports events. Therefore, besides lucky draw, Wimbledon event management is recommended to sell tickets on half price for a day which can cater to mediocre income holders.

Unfortunately, the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has ceased the Wimbledon event in the year 2020. The Wimbledon event management has launched the campaign of #RecreateWimbledon on social media to awaken fan’s enthusiasm for next year Wimbledon matches already (Whitbread, 2020). However, it is recommended that event management should announce a special discount for people who have been left alone due to the demise of their loved ones due to pandemic. Healthcare data shows that the UK has suffered more than 43000 deaths to date (Worldometer, 2020). Hence, it is suggested that a special mourning ceremony or segment should be planned to make the families of deceased people feel ‘loved’ and ‘considered’. In this way, event management will serve the policy of tacking loneliness and play a positive part in the alleviation of mental health issues in UK individuals.

Poulantza’s power theory asserts that the state, power, and socialism can be considered as modern classic (Jessop, 2006). Therefore, the UK government is taking strategic initiatives to tackle people’s intrinsic needs appropriately. The policy of tackling loneliness is an example of the UK government’s efforts to help people live a peaceful life. In the light of government’s official support to alleviate loneliness from people’s life, it is recommended to Wimbledon event to declare special programs for people who want to seek training from professional tennis players but cannot afford it. Wimbledon event, having a centuries-old brand image, can request the government to generate funds which can be used to devise a ‘free training’ program for people suffering from loneliness. The program should offer transportation, refreshment, a 30-minute session with Wimbledon enrolled tennis player twice a month and a certificate signed by Wimbledon event management upon completion of training.

Conclusion:

Wimbledon event management is renowned for its sophisticated and elite sports match events. The series of matches are governed by centuries-old management patterns which results in massive public appreciation. The paper has concluded that sports events eradicate loneliness from people’s lives and should permit the audience to attend the event for social interaction. The Poulantza’s power theory has asserted that Wimbledon is contributing successfully to the society of the UK by taking specific steps to include people in the event. The power is distributed among the audience reasonably that sustains the brand image and also creates an inclusive culture for a variety of class statuses. The paper has created a set of recommendations to devise a plan for deceased people in COVID19 to tackle their loneliness. As per the analysis of the Wimbledon event concerning power theory and UK policy of tackling loneliness, it is learnt that event can do more to contribute positively in UK society. In order to improve Wimbledon event management in the context of the power theory and the general contribution to UK policy of tackling loneliness, it is recommended to use more than one way of selling tickets at a mediocre price. It is asserted that the event management should seek guidelines from the policy of tackling loneliness and do every possible measure to show power distribution in the event in a responsible fashion.

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