£11.5m community loneliness fund launched

A new £11.5m fund aimed at tackling loneliness has been launched by the Government, the Big Lottery Fund and the Co-Op Foundation.

It’s hoped the fund will give people greater access to befriending services, community arts groups and support schemes, with grants of between £30,000 and £100,000 being awarded to 126 organisations across England that are already delivering work to tackle loneliness and social isolation.

The organisations to benefit from the funding across England include new community transport links to support those most at risk of isolation, innovative digital solutions that enable elderly people and young care leavers to connect with their peers and one to one support for LGBT+ people suffering from loneliness.

The main fund is made up of close to £9m from Government and the Big Lottery Fund, which is being topped up by £2m from the Co-Op Foundation for a separate fund for young people, with grants, available of up to £80,000.

Minister for Loneliness, Mims Davies, said: ‘There is no one cause of loneliness and therefore no one solution. That is why we are working alongside a broad range of businesses, voluntary organisations and local councils to ensure that those who feel alone are best supported.

‘From new digital communities, to sports classes that bring people together, this fund will go a long way to achieving that goal. I am committed to encouraging open conversations around this sensitive topic to reduce the stigma and create an environment where everyone is better connected.’

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, added: ‘Loneliness can affect anyone, young or old. Across the country, this money will enable organisations to deliver activities ranging from rural rambling groups and community cafes, to walking football sessions and a social media platform for care leavers.

‘Whatever the focus of the project, they all aim to help people make new connections that boost wellbeing and help to reduce feelings of loneliness.’


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