New strategy says government will support VCSE in tackling loneliness

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Photo by US Army Africa CC BY 2.0
24 October, 2018


The Government has launched its new Loneliness Strategy in a bid to tackle what it calls “one of the greatest public health challenges of our time”.

Under the strategy, GPs in England will be able to refer patients experiencing loneliness to community activities and voluntary services by 2023.

The strategy puts a key focus on the role of the VCSE sector, saying that it “…largely concentrates on the role that government can play and how it can set the framework to enable local authorities, businesses, health and the voluntary sector, as well as communities and individuals, to support people’s social connections.”

Among the proposals put forward in the strategy are:

  • Nationwide social prescribing connector schemes to create a national offer available from GP practices
  • The Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) will devote up to £1.8 million to helping local communities to unlock the potential of underutilised public spaces
  •  Public Health England’s mental health campaign will highlight loneliness as a potential risk factor for poor mental health
  • DCMS will work with Arts Council England to address loneliness through its programmes, as well as raise awareness of the role that libraries can play
  • Sport England will make new grant awards totalling £1 million for sport and physical activity for over 55s

The report also sets out measures to ensure that the issue continues to be supported into the future. Notably, an annual report will be published on progress in tackling the loneliness agenda and three cabinet ministers will have loneliness added to their portfolio.

To read the strategy, visit:



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