A charity has called a regional summit to address the North West’s loneliness problem

The Campaign to End loneliness is holding a summit to bring together the North West’s health and social care leaders, voluntary sector managers and older people’s representatives on Tuesday 8 July in Manchester [1].

The summit will discuss how to meet the needs of the nearly 122,200 older people in the North West who describe themselves as feeling lonely all or most of the time [2].

The effect of loneliness and isolation on mortality exceeds the impact of well-known risk factors such as obesity, and has a similar influence as cigarette smoking 15 cigarettes a day [3]. However, three quarters of doctors in the North West (73 per cent) say they regularly see between one and five lonely patents every day and more than half (53 per cent) claim they do not know how to help them [4].

The Campaign, which is led by a coalition of organisations including national charities Independent Age, Royal Voluntary Service and Sense, along with local champions Manchester City Council, works to bring together those working on loneliness to learn from the evidence and to share good practice.

Kate Jopling, Director for the Campaign to End Loneliness, says: “The danger loneliness poses to people’s health and wellbeing is increasingly well understood, yet far too few councils and clinical commissioning groups in the North West are giving this issue the attention it needs.”

In the North West there are 23 separate health and wellbeing boards, the cross sector committees tasked with setting and coordinating local health priorities, yet only three managed to achieve a gold rating, from the Campaign to End Loneliness, for including action to tackle loneliness and isolation in their joint strategies [5]. A further seven managed silver and four bronze, leaving nine unplaced boards with little or nothing to say on the issue.

Kate Jopling continued: “We know there is a great deal of good work happening to support lonely people in the North West. With councils like Manchester, Blackburn and Sefton leading the way by including clear actions to address this problem in their local strategies – but there is much more to be done.

“The coming summit on loneliness will give those who are already working on the issue an opportunity to share what they have learned. And it will be a chance for those still exploring how to respond to be inspired by the some of the exciting work going on in the region.”

Speakers already confirmed for the summit include: Susan Cooley, Lord Mayor of Manchester; Gregor Henderson, Director Wellbeing and Mental Health, Public Health England and Sophie Andrews, Chief Executive Officer, The Silver Line.

Those who wish to register for the event can do so be contacting