Conversations during Covid-19

Organisations which support some of the UK’s loneliest people have an important role in helping people make and develop meaningful conversations following the pandemic, according to the Campaign to End Loneliness. The Campaign recently brought together more than 90 organisations, which support people who feel isolated – often through volunteers making contact.  Conversations through Covid-19 is a review of what these charities, councils and social enterprises learnt from helping lonely people keep conversations going through lockdown.

Read the report here Conversations through Covid-19

Read the blog from our Conversations through Covid-19 event  

Conversations through Covid-19

Lessons From Lockdown

On 10 February 2021 we launched our new report Lessons from Lockdown: Loneliness in the time of Covid-19.

This summarises knowledge and information gathered from hundreds of organisations with experience of working on loneliness and isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic between May and September 2020.

It explores how organisations across the UK responded to loneliness in the context of the pandemic. It also provides important insights and information for others to share as best-practice as we all adjust to a new normal.

Read the report here Lessons from lockdown FEB21

Loneliness in Northern Ireland: A call to action

There is already valuable work happening in Northern Ireland to help people who are lonely and work is being done in both the public and voluntary and community sectors. There is also internationally important research being undertaken in the region. Nevertheless, a step change in efforts to tackle loneliness is required and that can best be driven forward by a fully resourced, cross government strategy.

Read the report Loneliness in Northern Ireland: A call to action.

Promising Approaches Revisited

On 15 October 2020, we launched our new report, ‘Promising Approaches Revisited: Effective action on loneliness in later life’.

Text reads: Promising Approaches Revisited: Effective action on loneliness in later life

This report is an update to the seminal report we published jointly with Age UK in 2015, ‘Promising Approaches to reducing loneliness in later life’.

Five years on, thanks to the work of many organisations, there are government loneliness strategies in England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland has committed to developing one. The development of a framework approach to reducing loneliness helped local councils, commissioning bodies and service providers explore the best way forward to invest in, and run, loneliness interventions.

In 2020, the impact of Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of meaningful connections for us all. It was time to refresh this framework and look at what current promising approaches are.

Addressing loneliness in lockdown and beyond

This report summarises findings from an event held with the Local Trust on how communities are responding to loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what challenges and opportunities lie ahead.

Read the report, Addressing loneliness in lockdown and beyond.

The Psychology of Loneliness

Our new report, the first of its kind in the UK, is on the Psychology of Loneliness. It looks at how we can use approaches from psychology to help us address how loneliness affects how people think and feel, and provide better support for those feeling lonely.

Read our new report, The Psychology of Loneliness.

The Campaign to End Loneliness commissioned the UKRI Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Research Network, UCL, to carry out an extensive scoping review for the Psychology of Loneliness report. They examined academic literature, reports from the third sector, and undertook stakeholder consultation to find the psychological factors which contribute to loneliness and evidence of interventions that have potential to target these factors.

Read the evidence synthesis for The Psychology of Loneliness.

New research on the cost-effectiveness of loneliness interventions from LSE

The Campaign has contracted researchers from the London School of Economics to conduct a research review about the cost-effectiveness of loneliness interventions.

This report is their initial findings. Also included is a foreword to the report by the Campaign’s director Laura Alcock-Ferguson.

Report Foreword

Making the economic case for investing in actions to prevent and/or tackle loneliness: a systematic review

The Missing Million publications

There are an estimated one million, one hundred thousand people 65 and over who are chronically lonely. They are difficult to find. Our Practical Guide and Report provide guidance on how to find the loneliest in our communities.

The Missing Million: A Practical Guide to Identifying and Talking About Loneliness

The Practical Guide has two main sections. One on how to successfully identify loneliness and the second on how to better understand and engage with older people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing loneliness.

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The Missing Million: In Search of the Loneliest in our Communities

The report is made up of three sections: Identifying Loneliness, Applying the Methods and Talking About Loneliness.

It outlines methods of identifying lonely older people including heat maps and different data sources available. There are case studies which show how those methods are being put into practice. There is also guidance on how to talk to someone who is lonely or at risk of being lonely.


Measuring your impact on loneliness in later life

Are you working to prevent or reduce loneliness in your community?

Can you articulate the difference you are making to the lives of older people?

We’re all working in an increasingly competitive funding environment, and we all need to be able to demonstrate, robustly, that we’re making a difference.

The Campaign to End Loneliness has worked with over 50 organisations, researchers and older people in our Learning Network to develop information and advice on choosing and using a scale to measure the impact of your services on loneliness.


Hidden Citizens: how can we identify the most lonely older adults? April 2015

In 2015, the Campaign to End Loneliness and the University of Kent undertook a piece of research to explore what was already known in both research and practice about identifying people experiencing loneliness. We looked at current approaches to identifying loneliness and searched for insights into how services can improve their outreach and support.

The results of this project – Hidden Citizens: How can we identify  the most lonely older adults? – were published in April 2015.

hidden citizens

Promising Approaches to Reducing Loneliness and Isolation January 2015

This report offers some practical answers to what works in tackling loneliness drawing on practical experience and academic evidence. The report argues that leaders in health and social care must recognise the individual’s experience of loneliness and should not seek a ‘one size fits all solution’.

The report sets out a new framework for understanding how to tackle this multifaceted problem, presenting a range of projects and examples from around the country. These examples demonstrate some of the varied solutions needed for an effective response.

Promising Approaches

Alone in the crowd: loneliness and diversity May 2014

Anyone can become lonely but some circumstances and some characteristics seem to leave us particularly vulnerable to loneliness. There are also a number of common transitions too, like relationship breakdown, redundancy, retirement, or decline in health, which can trigger a sudden change in circumstances and a downward spiral into loneliness.

This collection of essays had been brought together to shine a light on the individuals behind the statistics, helping us to understand better who experiences loneliness, and what particular challenges they may face.

Alone in the Crowd

Measuring the impact of services on loneliness January 2014

There are a huge number of services currently working to tackle loneliness, but whilst these services are often highly valued they do not always have robust evaluation data to demonstrate their impact on loneliness specifically. The scoping report examines what tools currently exist to measure loneliness, and examines the case for a new tool, specifically designed to help services to better understand and measure their impact.

The Cost of Loneliness January 2014

As the evidence for the health implications of loneliness has grown, the Campaign has become increasingly interested in finding out what the financial implications of loneliness are. This scoping report examines what evidence on the cost of loneliness is already available, and explores what the Campaign might be able to do to support its dissemination. It is hoped that collecting this evidence will prove useful to service providers and commissioners when making the case for loneliness interventions.

Campaign to End Loneliness – working together December 2013

Following a review of the Campaign’s first three years by the Charities Evaluation Services (CES), we have put together a short leaflet celebrating the progress that has been made towards addressing loneliness since we formed. This leaflet also looks to the future, and briefly outlines what our plans will be for our next three years. There is also a large print version on this leaflet that can be downloaded here.

Campaign to End loneliness - working together

Still ignoring the health risks? November 2013

In June we published our ‘Ignoring the Health Risks?’ report, tracking whether the newly established health and wellbeing boards (HWBs) across England had prioritised the public health issues of loneliness and isolation within their strategies.

Now, five months later, we have published an updated report, ‘Still Ignoring the Health Risks?’, in which we find 146 boards have now published their strategies,  and for the first time ever – more than half of boards  have included some reference to loneliness or isolation in their strategies.

Still ignoring the health risks

Ignoring the health risks? June 2013

Following the establishment of 152 health and wellbeing boards across England in April 2012, The Campaign to End Loneliness launched Loneliness Harms Health.  This campaign supports people to lobby their local board to commit to tackling loneliness through their Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

Ignoring the health risks? examines the 128 Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies that have been published to assess the impact of Loneliness Harms Health and the uptake of Campaign messages.  Quantitative data is supported by interviews and case studies from across England.

Loneliness and Isolation: a toolkit for health and wellbeing boards

Developed with the support of the Department of Health, this toolkit enables health and wellbeing boards to better understand, identify and commission interventions for the issue of loneliness in older age.

The toolkit explains how to best include assessments of loneliness prevalence and indicators in Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNAs) and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies (JHWSs). It covers key research on the detrimental impact of loneliness on our health and offers a financial case for taking preventative active.


We used the toolkit to draft the initial paper to the health and wellbeing board prior to the strategy…this resource was really helpful. Loneliness and isolation can seem just concepts and the tools give you a way of putting numbers to it, it becomes tangible.”

Loneliness – the state we’re in  December 2012

A new research report with the latest evidence on loneliness, health and wellbeing. Loneliness – The State We’re In compiles international research on the impact of loneliness on health and quality of life, and identifies triggers and interventions.

Tackling Loneliness in Older Age – The Role of the Arts

This publication demonstrates how participatory arts can help reduce loneliness. With 10 new case studies, the report also illustrates some less conventional interventions to alleviate loneliness.

Constituency Campaign Pack  December 2012

This online campaign pack helps MPs to lead the way in making sure their constituents are part of a connected community, and loneliness in older age is prevented. The pack inspires positive action on three levels: from the personal through to policy.

Loneliness Harms Health Action Pack  October 2012

New local forums, called health and wellbeing boards, are making decisions in the next 6 months that could significant affect the future of services that keep people connected in older age. The Loneliness Harms Health campaign supports local people to make sure decision makers in health understand the need to act on loneliness in older age.

“Thank you for all the fantastic info in the Action Pack – it’s really useful and helps make sense of the health and wellbeing boards”

Listening to You – the baseline report from the Campaign to End Loneliness December 2011

To get to the heart of a more personal approach to loneliness, we asked more than 1,500 adults over the age of 40 about their views on loneliness and what they were doing to prevent or alleviate it. These responses are presented in this report, which will be used to inform the upcoming projects of the Campaign.

“Reading ‘Listening to You’ has helped me to realise and think more about what older people want to enable them to enjoy and live life to the full and also the effect social isolation has on people’s mortality”

Safeguarding the Convoy. A call to action from the Campaign to End Loneliness February 2011

Safeguarding the Convoy is the launch publication of the Campaign to End Loneliness. It argued for action from charities, businesses, local government and individuals on the issue of loneliness in older. Academics from across Europe contributed with essays on specific topics, including prevalence and interventions.

“The publication inspired me so much that I have expanded the work I was doing in several areas”