The Government has convened a network of high-profile charities, businesses, organisations and public figures to explore ways to bring people together to build strong community spirit, with a focus on groups at particular risk of loneliness.
The Government has launched a major effort to tackle loneliness and social isolation during the coronavirus outbreak and period of social distancing.
In collaboration with the Connection Coalition, organised by Jo Cox Foundation, the Government has convened a network of high-profile charities, businesses, organisations and public figures. The group will explore ways to bring people together to build strong community spirit, with a focus on groups at particular risk of loneliness, and will work to continue these initiatives in the future.
Chaired by Minister for Loneliness Baroness Barran, the ‘Tackling Loneliness Network’ includes the BBC, Premier League, Facebook, ITV, British Red Cross, Jo Cox Foundation, Vodafone, Zurich, Nationwide Building Society, Campaign to End Loneliness, Aviva, Sports and Recreation Alliance, English Football League, JC Decaux UK, Samaritans, Age UK, Arts Council England, Co-op Foundation, The Cares Family, University College London, Independent Age, Libraries Connected, Sense, Manchester Museum, Nesta Challenges and Seema Kennedy, former Co-Chair of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness.
The moves come after the Culture Secretary chaired a virtual summit on Friday (17 April) with a number of loneliness charities including the Jo Cox Foundation, British Red Cross, Campaign to End Loneliness, Co-op Foundation, Age UK, The Cares Family, Mind, Sense and Samaritans, who discussed how to ensure tackling loneliness is a key priority during the pandemic.
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."
Catherine Anderson, CEO of The Jo Cox Foundation said:
"The priority given to loneliness and social isolation at this time is extremely welcome. Maintaining social connection at a time of physical distancing is vitally important. And when we eventually come out of this crisis the country will emerge stronger and healthier if we act now to establish a legacy of stronger connections that are maintained in the future. The Jo Cox Foundation, along with our many partner organisations in the Connection Coalition, are investing much time and energy in ensuring this happens and we’re delighted to be playing a role alongside the government in this important work.
In very different times, Jo correctly identified two essential truths that are now self-evident. Firstly, that social isolation and loneliness do not discriminate. Secondly, that we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us."