Today saw the launch of the Government’s latest “#Let’sTalkLoneliness” campaign, aimed at tackling loneliness during the coronavirus lockdown.
Led by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, the plan will aim to ensure that staying at home does not lead to loneliness and includes new public guidance offering useful tips and advice on what to do to look after yourself and others safely.
The Government also announced that:
• Smaller, community-based organisations helping people to stay connected in local communities will benefit from being a priority category of the £750 million package of support for charities announced by the Chancellor on 8 April.
• National loneliness organisations will be allocated a guaranteed £5 million worth of funding to continue and adapt their critical work at this time.
• Loneliness charities including Age UK will be supported to work with NHS Volunteer Responders in their communities.
Phil Chamberlain, Executive Director External Engagement at City Lit said: “During these unprecedented times, it has never been more important to tackle the issue of loneliness. Here at City Lit we are confident that adult education is one route to help tackle the problem head on. We believe that in times of social distancing it is key to stay mentally, physically and emotionally stimulated and taking online classes can be one way to combat loneliness and social isolation.”
Culture Secretary Oliver 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.”
Ruth Sutherland, CEO of Samaritans, said: “Loneliness is a deeply personal experience which means different things to people, often affecting them in different ways. Whilst suicide is rarely caused by a single factor, we know that there can be a connection between loneliness and suicidal thoughts for some people, so this investment to tackle loneliness is critical during this difficult time. Whilst physical isolation is a necessary outcome of the lockdown restrictions, loneliness doesn’t have to be if we work together to look after each other.”
Zoë Abrams, British Red Cross executive director and Loneliness Action Group co-chair said: “It has never been more important that we all pull together to tackle loneliness by building on the sense of community and connectedness that has been so inspiring to see in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Today’s announcement of investment in this area is critical to help keep funding services and activities that provide a vital lifeline to those who feel lonely and isolated at this time.”