The government has awarded funding to 126 organisations for programmes that tackle loneliness through the £11.5m Building Connections Fund.

Funding has been awarded to new programmes for activities such as setting up community transport links or creating digital solutions to enable people to connect online.

There is also funding to expand existing programmes that use sport, the arts or music as a way for people to build friendships.

The Big Lottery Fund was responsible for distributing £9m from the fund and the Co-op Foundation was in charge of handing out £2m for youth organisations.

The fund was announced last year and applications for funding opened in the summer.

Mims Davies, minister for sport and civil society, said: “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.”

Additionally – Loneliness – research and evidence guidance has been published

Three new publications from the Office for National Statistics are available, which form an important contribution to our collective efforts to reduce loneliness.

Last January, the Prime Minister announced that government would establish indicators of loneliness across all ages and work to build the evidence base on loneliness. To deliver this, the government committed to a standard way of measuring loneliness in its first loneliness strategy for England, A connected society: a strategy for tackling loneliness. The ONS has published two documents detailing its recommendations and the rationale behind these.

 An overview of the loneliness measurement landscape explains how it arrived at its recommended package, drawing on expert advice from a Technical Advisory Group. It has separately published comprehensive guidance on how to measure loneliness in surveys. The guidance also sets out the first tranche of government surveys that will be adopting the measure.

In practice, this package means that for the first time, loneliness can be measured at a local level, helping those who commission and provide services to measure the impact of their work and make the case for investing in loneliness prevention to help people improve their quality of life. The ONS is also working with the What Works Centre for Wellbeing to produce tailored advice for charities and service providers.

Responding to an identified gap, the ONS, in partnership with the Children’s Society, has also published research that explores how children and young people experience loneliness. This gives us a much better insight into what shapes children’s and young people’s experiences of loneliness and what might help to reduce it which is something that has not been well understood previously.

Text supplied by NAVCA Newsletter, Issue 550

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