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Tackling loneliness

Covid-19 and isolation

The coronavirus pandemic has significantly increased the number of people experiencing isolation due to household lockdowns and social distancing. Many organisations have risen to the challenge by mobilising volunteers to provide much-needed social contacts as well as other essentials.

You can find further information on how to access local support and services on our coronavirus page.

Tackling loneliness

The council recognises loneliness and social isolation are serious problems in the borough for people of all ages. Loneliness and social isolation are harmful to health. They can lead to poorer physical and mental health and increase chances of developing dementia, depression and early death.

Older people can be at high risk of feeling lonely and isolated because of reduced mobility, bereavement or not having family close by. But young people can also report feelings of loneliness and isolation for instance when they move away from family to go to college or if they are finding it difficult to make new friends.

What are we doing about it?

The important thing to recognise is that it is perfectly okay to speak about being lonely. There are opportunities to get some support and to build new relationships. Fortunately there are many local services and community organisations in the borough that provide support for loneliness and social isolation.

LinkAge Plus is a network of community groups which offer outreach and activities for people over 50. Other community organisations such as Neighbours in Poplar, Tower Hamlets Friends and Neighbours and East London Cares offer befriending and support that can help people to feel connected and valued.

Linkage Plus (over 50s): mailto:info@ageukeastlondon.org.uk, 020 8981 7124
Neighbours in Poplar (Poplar and Limehouse area): nip65@msn.com, 020 7987 0257  
Tower Hamlets Friends and Neighbours (over 55s): 020 8983 7979
East London Cares (Bethnal Green and Mile End area): sasha.khan@eastlondoncares.org.uk, 020 7118 4949

Social prescribers are located at GP practices and offer one-to-one support for people to talk about their concerns. For information on other local groups and services visit the Idea Store Directory

In November 2017, the Council brought together stakeholders from the community to feedback on two projects commissioned to understand and tackle loneliness. It was also an opportunity to discuss the next steps. More information on the projects can be found in the reports linked below including a locally produced video on loneliness.  

If you have any queries, please contact keith.williams@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Loneliness task force

The council has established a loneliness task force to identify how the needs of people who experience loneliness can be better met. This could be through a befriending service, joining a new activity or a local community hub. We want to encourage a sense of neighbourliness and mutual aid that motivates people to interact more sociably in their streets and local communities. If you feel inspired to do something, you can apply for a small grant up to £5000 to help support your local community. 

See what local organisations have been able to do with the small grants:

The Orpheus Project

Neighbours in Poplar

Let’s talk loneliness website

In October 2018, the government launched its Loneliness Strategy and from this, the #LetsTalkLoneliness campaign was launched. A new website now brings together organisations, resources and inspirational stories to get more people talking about loneliness.

More information on loneliness and social isolation can be found on these websites: