£5 million Loneliness Covid-19 Grant Fund

Applications for this fund have now closed

Applies to England



The Government has launched a major effort to tackle loneliness during the coronavirus outbreak and period of social distancing.

As part of a £7.5 million funding package to tackle winter loneliness announced on 23 December 2020, we have extended this fund by £2 million to allow activities to continue operating over the winter period’

The plan will aim to ensure that, for people of all ages and backgrounds, staying at home does not need to lead to loneliness.

As part of this plan, national organisations working to tackle loneliness and build social connections were invited to apply for a share of £5 million of funding, which the government is investing to help them to continue and adapt their critical work

This fund has awarded grants of between £500,000 and £1,000,000 to 9 organisations

The beneficiaries of the £5 million loneliness fund are:

  • The English Football League Trust will receive £810,000 to make onward grants to its Football Club Community Organisations in 32 deprived locations across England, with the aim of connecting more older people at risk of loneliness. Activities include befriending phone calls, online social groups, a pen-pal scheme, social action from young people taking part in the National Citizen Service and socially distanced ‘garden gate’ conversations.

  • The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen And Families Association - Forces Help (SSAFA) will use £500,000 to support veterans experiencing loneliness and their families across the UK. The funding will support a new socially-distanced visiting service, expansion of telephone helpline, a one-to-one mentoring service and targeted activities for groups more at risk of loneliness.

  • Sense will receive £500,000 to support children and families and adults with complex disabilities. The funding will enable them to expand and scale up their ‘Connect 4 Service’ which helps disabled people form social connections and includes buddying services, online activities for young carers, specialist virtual childcare and family sessions and activities sent through the post.

  • £500,000 will go to the Alzheimer’s Society who will continue to support people with dementia and their carers through welfare and companion calls to support their wellbeing and provide informal chats and weekly ‘singing for the brain’ sessions - vocal exercises that help improve brain activity and well-being.

  • The British Red Cross will receive £610,000 to support young people, BAME communities, refugees, the digitally excluded and people more at risk of loneliness because of their health issues. It will enable them to expand their connecting communities work, with a focus on virtual group activities and 1:1 support to digitally excluded people, helping to get them online. People living in Durham, Barking and Dagenham, Stockport and Plymouth will be among the first to benefit.

  • £500,000 for Home-Start UK will help them provide onward grants to local Home Starts to support new mums at risk of loneliness. Their service will include regular telephone calls, online groups to connect families with each other and working with local partners to support crisis response.

  • The Royal National Institute of Blind People has received £500,000 to further support blind and partially sighted people through adapting and expanding telephone groups, online resources and piloting socially-distanced face to face support.

  • £500,000 will be allocated to Mind who will make onward grants to local groups to provide mental health support for older people, new parents, those who are disabled, digitally excluded and young people. This will include listening, befriending and wellbeing support services targeting these groups.

  • The Carers Trust will receive £500,000 to make onward grants to local charities in their network.

Visit the Let’s Talk Loneliness website and our Loneliness Collection page to find out more about our work to tackle loneliness and help available for those experiencing loneliness.

Published 13 May 2020
Last updated 28 May 2020 + show all updates
  1. additional guidance added

  2. added additional guidance (19/05/2020)

  3. First published.