Beneficiaries of government funding to tackle loneliness have been announced.
Feelings of loneliness are something almost all of us can relate to. For some these are one-off pangs of isolation, for others, it’s a chronic feeling that seeps into their everyday. By taking away our ability to see and connect with people in real life, the coronavirus pandemic has intensified this issue.
It feels timely therefore that this week is loneliness awareness week. Hosted by The Marmalade Trust, the aim of the week is to encourage people to talk about loneliness and make it less of a hidden problem in our society.
To mark the week, the Minister for Loneliness, Baroness Barran is writing letters to check in on friends and family and is encouraging the public to do the same. According to research from Royal Mail, 74% of us feel letter writing has positive mental health benefits.
As well as offering advice and encouraging letter writing, last month the government announced that they would be donating £5 million to national organisations to help them tackle loneliness.
This week they have announced who will be receiving funds and how they intend to use them:
The English Football League Trust
Receiving £810,000, The English Football League Trust will make onward grants to its Football Club Community Organisations in 32 deprived locations across England. The aim of this is to connect more older people who are at risk of loneliness with others.
The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen And Families Association – Forces Help (SSAFA)
The SSAFA will receive £500,000 which will be used to support veterans experiencing loneliness and their families. The funding will support a new socially-distanced visiting service, the expansion of a helpline, a one-to-one mentoring service and activities for groups more at risk of loneliness.
Disability charity Sense will receive £500,000 to support children and families and adults with complex disabilities. The funding will be used to help expand their ‘Connect 4 Service’ which helps disabled people form social connections.
Alzheimer’s Society will receive £500,000 which will be used to continue to support people with dementia and their carers through welfare and companion calls.
The British Red Cross
Receiving £610,000, The British Red Cross will use the funds to support young people, BAME communities, refugees, the digitally excluded and those more at risk of loneliness because of their health issues.
Home-Start UK will receive £500,000 which will help them provide onward grants to local Home Starts and support new mums at risk of loneliness. Their service will include regular phone calls, online groups and working with local partners to support crisis response.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People
£500,000 will go to The Royal National Institute of Blind People to further support blind and partially sighted people through adapting and expanding telephone groups, online resources and piloting socially-distanced in-person support.
Mental health charity Mind will receive £500,000. The funds will be used to make onward grants to local groups providing mental health support for older people, new parents, those who are disabled, the digitally excluded and young people.
The Carers Trust
The Carers Trust will receive £500,000 which will be used to make onward grants to local charities in their network.
Looking for ways to connect? This weekend The Great Get Together (inspired by Jo Cox) will be changing its usual format and encouraging you to celebrate the power of community.
This could involve in-person, socially distanced activities like a neighbourhood sing-along, a cup of tea over the fence with a neighbour, or online/telephone connections.
However you choose to connect, we encourage you to do exactly this during loneliness awareness week and beyond. We’re heartened to see important funding being allocated and believe now is a time when we need to come together and support one another.