• Big Lottery Fund awards more than 50% of funding for new £4m loneliness project
  • Targeting four parts of the UK
  • Collaborative community-wide approach to mobilise kindness
  • Over 1 million older people in the UK suffer chronic loneliness

A pioneering UK-wide project to tackle loneliness through community collaboration has received £2.7million from the Big Lottery Fund.

The Campaign to End Loneliness will deliver a national initiative, using funding raised by National Lottery players, to reduce the loneliness experienced by more than one million older people in the UK. The project will work with them to co-design programmes to tackle the issue and will drive public action to create 250, 000 acts of kindness such as regular phone calls and volunteer work in the community.

The £4 million project will be based in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, Cambridgeshire, Glasgow and a selected region in Northern Ireland, engaging businesses, local authorities, policymakers and people to develop their own local solutions to address isolation amongst older people.

Research has shown that chronic loneliness can increase the likelihood of early death as well as the risk of dementia, high blood pressure and depression. These can converge with other emotional and physical barriers in later life, such as bereavement, disability, poor health and lack of local transport, making it harder for people to participate in activities they enjoy and to feel part of their community.

Laura Alcock-Ferguson, Director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding from the Big Lottery Fund. Over the next four years we will be expanding our work to inspire thousands of people to take action in their neighbourhoods, workplaces, businesses and high streets. There are more than one million older people suffering chronic loneliness in the UK, but – by making it our business to help just one of those million – we can all make a big difference.”

Big Lottery Fund Chief Executive Dawn Austwick, said: “Loneliness is an issue that touches us all, so there’s a real opportunity for this valuable project to bring communities together up and down the country to address it head on. Through putting the power in the hands of those most affected by isolation, we can develop local solutions that make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Since 2011 the Campaign to End Loneliness has increased public awareness of loneliness as a serious health threat. By building a movement of internationally renowned academics, local authority networks, and over 900 organisations, almost 80% of English health authorities have now made a commitment to tackling loneliness, with the majority attributing this to the Campaign’s influence. Now, the Campaign is broadening its approach to involve the wider community.