Fund created by Co-op Foundation donates £11.5m to tackle loneliness

'Co-op Foundation is supporting groups of young people most affected by loneliness to strengthen their connections and sense of belonging'

A fund to tackle loneliness, set up by the government, the Big Lottery Fund and Co-op Group charity the Co-op Foundation, is awarding £11.5m to 126 organisations throughout England.

Tens of thousands of people will be given greater access to befriending services, community arts groups and support schemes that tackle loneliness, thanks to awards from the Building Connections Fund. 

The 126 organisations to benefit include new community transport links to support those most at risk of isolation; innovative digital solutions that enable elderly people and young care leavers to connect with their peers, and one-to-one support for LGBT+ people suffering from loneliness.

Funding will also go to expanding existing programmes that harness sport, arts or music as a way to encourage people to establish lasting and meaningful friendships with those who have similar hobbies and interests.

Minister for loneliness Mims Davies 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.”

Jamie Ward-Smith, chair of the Co-op Foundation, the leading funder of projects tackling youth loneliness in the country, said: “By partnering with the government on the youth strand of the Building Connections Fund, Co-op Foundation is supporting groups of young people most affected by loneliness to strengthen their connections and sense of belonging.

“Our funding will support young people, including young carers and those with experience of care and bereavement, to find innovative solutions to loneliness so they can build their confidence and skills.

“We look forward to working with our new partners over the coming years, helping them to tackle youth loneliness at a community level and boosting our joint understanding of loneliness.”

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