£11.5 million fund to tackle loneliness across England

Tens of thousands of people will be given greater access to befriending services, community arts groups and support schemes through a new £11.5 million fund to tackle loneliness in England, Minister for Loneliness Mims Davies announced.

The 126 organisations to benefit from the new funding 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 Building Connections Fund is the first ever Government fund dedicated to reducing loneliness in England and will target people from all age groups and backgrounds.

Funding will also go to expanding existing programmes that harness sport, arts or music as a way to encourage people to establish lasting and meaningful friendships with those who have similar hobbies and interests.

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.

Minister for Loneliness, Mims Davies

The fund was created earlier this year in partnership between the government, Big Lottery Fund and the Co-op Foundation.

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.

We’re proud to work with DCMS and the Co-op Foundation to support this important work. It’s wonderful to see funding raised by National Lottery players supporting a wide range of community-led activity that will reduce social isolation.

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund

By partnering with government on the youth strand of the Building Connections Fund, Co-op Foundation is supporting groups of young people most affected by loneliness to strengthen their connections and sense of belonging.

Our funding will support young people, including young carers and those with experience of care and bereavement, to find innovative solutions to loneliness so they can build their confidence and skills.

We look forward to working with our new partners over the coming years, helping them to tackle youth loneliness at a community level and boosting our joint understanding of loneliness.

Jamie Ward-Smith, Chair of the Co-op Foundation, the leading funder of projects tackling youth loneliness in the country

The grantee announcement is supported the Government’s first ever loneliness strategy, launched by the Prime Minister in October, which provided a powerful vision to reduce loneliness in the long term.

Grants from the Building Connections Fund for successful applicants will run until March 2021.

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