Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed the newly launched #Let’sTalkAboutLoneliness campaign by the Department of Culture, Media and Support (DCMS).
The campaign is focused on tackling loneliness as many across the country are isolated at home due to the outbreak of Covid-19, especially those who have been identified as vulnerable and at high risk.
DCMS Secretary, Oliver Dowden, has announced that charities that combat loneliness will have prioritised access to the £750 million package of funding announced by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and a guaranteed £5 million boost for national loneliness organisations.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
“Coronavirus and social distancing has forced all of us to look loneliness in the eye. So recognising the signs and tackling the stigma has never been more important.
“We’re launching this plan now to help ensure no one needs to feel lonely in the weeks ahead. It will help everyone understand the role they can play in looking after each other, and empower our expert charities and volunteers to reach more vulnerable people.”
Zoë Abrams, British Red Cross executive director and Loneliness Action Group co-chair said:
“It has never been more important that we all pull together to tackle loneliness by building on the sense of community and connectedness that has been so inspiring to see in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Today’s announcement of investment in this area is critical to help keep funding services and activities that provide a vital lifeline to those who feel lonely and isolated at this time.
“Combined with robust policies and practical action across government departments, this should help maintain the momentum on implementing the government’s loneliness strategy and ensure that, even whilst this virus keeps us apart, we are making sure that kindness can keep us together.”
Backed by Government funding, the campaign will provide information, guidance and tips on how to stay connected at home and with the wider community.
A new national network of businesses, charities, organisations and public figures – from Age UK to the Carer Family and Facebook – will collaborate through the ‘Tackling Loneliness Network’ to explore ways to bring people together remotely.
Locally, the Gosport Voluntary Action Group are running a befriending service to help older and isolated residents that is free for over 55s.
Caroline, who is a DCMS Minister, commented:
“I am really pleased to see that charities that keep isolated residents connected will get prioritised Government support to protect their vital services.
“People of all ages face loneliness every day, but especially now when the safest thing to do is to stay at home to protect yourself and others. While we are socially distancing, this does not mean that we have to be socially disconnected with the range of fantastic services that are available locally and nationally.
“Technology with apps such as facetime, zoom and skype, as well as a good old fashioned phone call means that we can check up and chat with our loved ones to ensure they are both physically and mentally ok.”