Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that £20 million in new funding is being set aside for charities and community groups that are working to ‘help isolated people and those suffering from loneliness’. The funding will support charities and community groups to bring people together; support programmes that are proven to benefit individuals and society; and help ‘hundreds of thousands’ of people to make connections in their communities.
The £20 million will be used to support three separate funds:
- The new £11 million ‘Building Connections Fund’ which will open to applications from July 2018 with grants available until the end of December 2020. This funding is intended to help bring communities together by making the most of local spaces, opening them up for community use, as well as help businesses and local services combat isolation. It will also fund projects that use technology to link those in remote areas and help improve transport connections to make face-to-face contact easier. The Big Lottery Fund and the Government will each give £5 million and the Co-op Foundation will give £1 million.
- People’s Postcode Lottery is committing £5 million to benefit charities working toward more connected communities.
- The Health Lottery is committing £4 million to charities that work to improve social links in disadvantaged areas across England.
The announcement was made on the second anniversary of the murder of West Yorkshire Labour MP Jo Cox.
Commenting, the Prime Minister said:
“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 [a fundraising event held on the anniversary of Jo Cox’s death], which will see people up and down the country celebrating the strength of their communities.”
The Government’s work will be led by Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Tracey Crouch, who was appointed the ministerial lead on loneliness in January 2018, following the report of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness in December 2017.
Commenting, Tracey Crouch said:
“This funding will support charities across the country that are fighting against loneliness. It will help improve people’s lives and create a shared society for the future.
“I am incredibly grateful to our funding partners for their support. There is no single solution to this issue, but together we will reduce stigma around loneliness and build on Jo Cox’s legacy.”
Further information on the three funds will be published as soon as the details are made available.