This online conference provides participants with the opportunity to examine successful methods for tackling loneliness, a year on from the government’s landmark ‘Connected Society’ strategy and virtual networking. Attendees will receive an update from Olivia Field, former Senior Policy Adviser – Tackling Loneliness, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and Head of Health and Resilience Policy, British Red Cross, as well as gain voluntary insights from Campaign to End Loneliness and Think NPC. In addition, best practice practitioners will share examples from local government, housing and voluntary organisations about raising awareness, connecting individuals and communities and building a connected society.
According to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport between 6 -18% of the population often or always feel lonely. Over half of people over 75 live alone, and according to the Office of National Statistics, 16-24-year olds were the highest proportion of any age group to report loneliness. Loneliness is an issue that affects people across the life course and has significant mental and physical health implications. It increases the likelihood of mortality by 26% meaning it is a comparable risk to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
To help tackle this issue, in October 2018 the government released A Connected Society: A Strategy for Tackling Loneliness and appointed the world’s first minister to lead the work. This launched the £11.5 million ‘Building Connections Fund’ in partnership with the Co-op Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund and delineated priority areas for community initiatives and policy developments, stimulating progress in the area.
Since the publication of the strategy, the government marked the one-year anniversary of the strategy by announcing an additional £2 million of grant funding in October 2019. In January 2020, they also released the Loneliness Annual Report to benchmark progress and highlight areas for improvement, including building a better evidence-based and tackling loneliness in children and young people. Since the strategy launch in 2018, the government have been working to deliver on 60 commitments.
In addition, the Local Government Association and National Association of Local Councils have also developed ‘Reaching Out’, comprehensive guide on tackling loneliness for local authorities.
With a variety of resources and funds available, it is vital for local authorities, healthcare providers and voluntary organisations to continue to harness resources and work together to solve this social issue. Failure to do so could see a generation of people continuing to suffer at the hands of this preventable epidemic.
This Forum is specifically designed for Local Authorities and the Voluntary Sector as well as the Housing, and Social Care Sectors. Typical job titles will include:
- Chief Executives
- Community Engagement/Outreach Managers
- Head of Policy and Public Affairs
- Health and Well-being Divisions
- Heads of Care and Community Services
- Safeguarding Managers
- Service and Commissioning Managers
- Directors of Ageing/Social Impact
- Public Health Leads/Managers
- Neighbourhood Investment Officer
*Please note to comply with the latest public health guidance around Covid-19, this conference will run entirely via an online platform. Specific joining instructions and guidance will be provided to registered delegates
- Sharing updates from the ‘Loneliness Annual Report – January 2020’, including key achievements since ‘A Connected Society: A strategy for tackling loneliness (2018)’
- Discussing the potential impact Covid-19 and self-isolation could have on loneliness across the UK
- Examining the government’s Let’s Talk Loneliness, a public campaign launched in April 2020 designed to get people talking openly about loneliness during the Covid-19 pandemic
- Highlighting how the government are working with national loneliness charities to measure loneliness and benchmark outcomes, including working with The Jo Cox Foundation as part of the Connection Coalition
Olivia Field, Head of Health and Resilience Policy at the British Red Cross will outline how the British Red Cross and Co-op established a partnership to tackle loneliness, which raised £6.7 million, worked with nearly 12,000 people experiencing loneliness, as well as took forward an ambitious policy, research and advocacy programme, including establishing the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Loneliness and Loneliness Action Group.
- Analysing who is affected by loneliness at work and the key factors that can contribute to it, including marginalisation due to gender, sexuality or race and mental health issues
- Sharing resources and best practices for identifying lonely or isolated people at work such as creating networks and improving job design
- Highlighting how Campaign to End Loneliness is supporting key sectors during and in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, with focus on people working from home or living alone
Catherine Anderson will be outlining how The Jo Cox Foundation worked in partnership with the Government and Facebook and other charities to launch the Connection Coalition dedicated to helping the people across the UK form meaningful connections during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Connection Coalition, which includes the British Red Cross and Age UK, brings together organisations to collaborate and share expertise, tools and ideas for ways to build connections to combat loneliness.
- Outlining how East Suffolk Council will relaunch their support programme for isolated people, which includes £100,000 worth of local grants
- Examining how the council works with eight community partnerships, featuring police, councillors, parish councils and healthcare services to identify and tackle loneliness
- Highlighting how the programme also offers small grants for each community partnership, including £2,500 to help kick-start small scale projects which help reduce loneliness
- Sharing guidance on how the council utilised their Covid-19 Community Hub to help tackle loneliness during the pandemic
Sue Irving, Director of Housing Services at Loreburn Housing Association will discuss how the housing association worked to identify which of their tenants were most vulnerable to loneliness when self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic. As well as outlining the measures they put in place to provide support, including partnering with local charities, for the residents over the age of 70.
- Outlining the Chatty Cafe Scheme and how it has evolved to include over 900 cafes and national partnership with Costa Coffee
- Examining the process of working in partnership with Costa Coffee to expand the scheme to include ‘Chatter and Natter’ tables in over 300 stores nationwide
- Highlighting the key lessons learnt since the initial trial of the chatty cafe scheme in 300 Costa Cofee stores in 2018
- Sharing the research that Think NPC is currently gathering to evaluate the work of Building Connections Fund recipients to inform longer-term policy and funding decisions
- Outlining best practice for organisations evaluating their work on loneliness as outlined in Building Connections Fund: Guidance on Evaluation for Grant-holders
- Discussing top tips for co-design and improving community spaces in tackling loneliness, especially youth loneliness, as evidenced and evaluated by Building Connections Fund Co-design and Community Spaces: Final Report
Hear from and gain insights from leading experts as they discuss the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on loneliness across the UK and key areas of focus for the sector in its aftermath.
Panelists will also outline the next steps their organisations will be taking to combat loneliness throughout the rest of 2020
*programme subject to change
- Online Conference Rate£295 + VAT