The council recognises that, sadly, loneliness and social isolation are a key problem in the borough for all ages. In fact, Tower Hamlets is estimated to have the highest prevalence of loneliness in England and Wales.
This estimate is backed up by evidence such as Silverline, a helpline for older people, having the second-highest number of calls in London originating from Tower Hamlets’ residents. Loneliness and social isolation are harmful to health: research shows that lacking social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, amongst other negative health impacts.
Many of the services available in the borough help to address this need, particularly those for older people, some of whom experience reduced mobility, bereavement, and other factors which increase the likelihood they may experience loneliness.
For example, LinkAge Plus is a network of community hubs which offer outreach and physical and social activities for people over fifty. Social prescribers located in GP practices throughout the borough offer one-to-one appointments where people can talk about their concerns with a specialist who will identify the best assistance, often through local voluntary services.
This page is intended to inform people about what the borough is doing to combat loneliness and social isolation, and to allow interested people and organisations to share relevant local research and information which might otherwise be difficult to obtain.
What are we doing about loneliness and social isolation?
On Tuesday 14 November, the borough brought together representatives from the community to start to talk about our growing awareness of the extent of the problem and what together we can do about it.
Presenters shared the findings from two recent studies on Loneliness and Social Isolation in Tower Hamlets. Notes from the event are being put together, and the borough is considering next steps, including possibly setting up a taskforce. If you would like to join the mailing list to be informed about future events, please email Orenda.OBrien-Davis@towerhamlets.gov.uk.
Combatting loneliness is one of the themes addressed in the borough’s Ageing Well Strategy. An action plan is being developed and will be shared here when completed.
General information on loneliness and social isolation can be found on the Campaign to End Loneliness website.