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New moves to tackle lockdown loneliness

12:00am | & Health

A major effort to tackle loneliness and social isolation during the coronavirus outbreak and period of social distancing has been launched by the Government.

Led by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden (pictured), the plan aims to ensure that, for people of all ages and backgrounds, staying at home doesn’t have to lead to loneliness. 

The latest ‘Let’s Talk Loneliness’ public campaign has been rolled out to get people talking openly about feeling lonely. It includes new public guidance offering useful tips and advice on what to do to look after yourself and others safely. 

Initially launched last year, the campaign is being supported by famous faces across social media including TV presenter Angellica Bell and Karen Gibson, founder of The Kingdom Choir. More information about the Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign can be found by clicking here.

In a wide ranging cross-Government plan, Oliver Dowden has also announced that:

  • A £750 million package of support will be available for charities working to tackle loneliness and social isolation
  • Smaller, community-based organisations in England helping people to stay connected in their local area will be in a priority category for funding from the support package
  • National loneliness organisations will be allocated a guaranteed £5 million worth of funding to continue and adapt their critical work at this time. 
  • As part of the national effort, loneliness charities including Age UK will be supported to work with NHS Volunteer Responders in their communities. 

The Government has also convened a network of high-profile charities, businesses, organisations and public figures to explore ways of bringing people together. This “Tackling Loneliness Network” will aim to build strong community spirit, with a focus on groups at particular risk of loneliness, and will work to continue these initiatives in the future.

The new moves come after the Culture Secretary chaired a virtual summit with several loneliness charities including the Jo Cox Foundation, British Red Cross, Campaign to End Loneliness, Co-op Foundation, Age UK, The Cares Family, Mind, Sense and Samaritans. Together they discussed how to ensure tackling loneliness is a key priority during the pandemic.

Mr Dowden said: “Coronavirus and social distancing has forced all of us to look loneliness in the eye, so recognising the signs and tackling the stigma has never been more important. 

“We’re launching this plan now to help ensure no one needs to feel lonely in the weeks ahead. It will help everyone understand the role they can play in looking after each other, and empower our expert charities and volunteers to reach more vulnerable people.” 

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