Government unveils £20m fund to tackle loneliness

19 Jun 2018 News

The Prime Minister last night announced that £20m would be made available for charities and community groups to “help isolated people and those suffering from loneliness” as part of a partnership between the government and other funders. 

Theresa May yesterday announced three separate funds, which together amount to £20m. The government will work in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund and the Cooperative Foundation, to form the £11m 'Building Connections Fund'.

According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the government has matched the Big Lottery Fund’s £5m, with a further £1m coming from the Cooperative Foundation. 

She also announced that two lottery funders were making more funding available to tackle loneliness. The People’s Postcode Lottery has committed £5m and the Health Lottery has committed £4m.  

Charities will be able to apply for Building Connections Fund from July until the end of December 2020. A spokeswoman for DCMS said further details on the fund, including maximum and minimum size of grant awards, would be announced then. 

The funds will be used to “support groups to understand the impact of their work and share best practice about how to prevent loneliness”. 

Details of the funds run by People's Postcode Lottery and the Health Lottery will be made available on their respective websites. 

PM: 'This is part of Jo Cox's legacy' 

May said the funding would go to support and expand programmes that bring people together and are proving to benefit communities.

"Feeling lonely or isolated can have a profound and devastating impact on people's lives - it can affect anyone of any age and from any background. But just as loneliness can affect any of us, so any of us can help to overcome it.

“The new funding set out today will make a big difference, helping more people to establish and maintain connections. This will build on work already going on, including through the second Great Get Together this weekend, which will see people up and down the country celebrating the strength of their communities.

“This is just part of Jo Cox’s legacy, and I am determined we continue to take this forward. That’s why we need to do all we can to tackle loneliness, and our forthcoming strategy will build on today’s funding.”

The announcement is being made to coincide with the second Great Get Together, a fundraising event held on the anniversary of the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox. One of Cox’s first acts as an elected parliamentarian was to set up a Loneliness Commission. 

The government's work on this will be led by Tracey Crouch, minister for sport and civil society, who said: “This funding enables us to build on Jo Cox’s legacy and provides support to charities across the country that are fighting against loneliness. It will help improve the lives of people and build a shared society for the future.”

Crouch was appointed minister for loneliness in January of this year. She was tasked with leading a "cross-governmental strategy tackling loneliness and social isolation" and to build on the work of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, which was set up by the Labour MP shortly before her death in June 2016. 

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