Loneliness can affect everyone - from children to carers to new parents to students starting at university to older people and those with disabilities. As the late Jo Cox said, loneliness doesn’t discriminate.
But tackling loneliness matters to everyone - to individuals, employers, communities, educators and to health professionals. Supporting people to have meaningful social relationships is not just crucial to people’s physical and mental health, it also affects their productivity in the workplace and wider community cohesion. To tackle loneliness across society, we all need to take action and government can play an important role supporting this.
In January 2018, the Prime Minister announced the government’s plans to tackle loneliness. Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch was appointed as the ministerial lead for cross-government work on loneliness, and a team within the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is supporting the delivery of the government’s plan.
Charities and community groups in England can now apply for funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Building Connections Fund to help tackle loneliness through building strong social connections and welcoming communities. The Fund’s Youth Strand, which will be delivered by the Co-op Foundation, will open for applications in August.
Loneliness cross-Government team
The team includes representatives from Government departments contributing to the work, and supporting the Cross Government Ministerial Group on Loneliness:
- Developing a cross-government strategy on loneliness in England, to be published later in 2018
- Developing the evidence-base around the impact of different initiatives in tackling loneliness, across all ages and within all communities
- Establishing appropriate indicators of loneliness across all ages, with the Office for National Statistics
- Creating a dedicated loneliness grant fund
We are grateful to many partners and organisations for their help in developing our thinking so far, including:
Other funding Loneliness Projects
There is an array of work taking place that will also contribute to tackling loneliness:
The People’s Health Trust’s Active Communities programme
This programme will distribute £4 million from the Health Lottery to support charities and community groups in bringing people together. Apply for funding here.
GovTech Catalyst Fund
GovTech Catalyst supports the public sector in finding innovative solutions to complex challenges. Technology firms can apply for funding to develop technologies that connect young people and older adults to combat digital exclusion and a lack of access to transport in rural communities in South Wales.
Dream Fund: £1 million charity funding available for inspiring project tackling loneliness epidemic
The Players of People’s Postcode Lottery are contributing £5 million to the Government’s Building Communities Fund to help tackle loneliness and foster meaningful connections. The money from our players will go to our existing charities to bolster their good work in building communities and breaking down loneliness. The Postcode Dream Fund is part of this initiative.
Charities can now apply for up to £1 million from Postcode Dream Trust, which is a grant-giving body funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. This funding gives good causes the chance to work together to deliver a project they have always dreamed of, but never had the opportunity to bring to life. The first stage of the application process for the Dream Fund is now open and will close on the 31 August, 2018. The winner will be announced early in 2019. Not-for-profit organisations are encouraged to apply, but the lead for the project must be a registered charity.