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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.

Tower Hamlets Connection Network

The pandemic has had a profound effect on loneliness and highlighted the need and ability of our communities to connect and support each other. Our effective network of local organisations rose to the challenge of creating imaginative ways of overcoming isolation for residents, many continuing longstanding work, with support from the Tower Hamlets Loneliness Taskforce Grants.

In 2021 we joined the national Connection Coalition set up by Jo Cox Foundation as a response to the acute loneliness caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

In March 2022 we launched our own Tower Hamlets Connection Network to support local organisations to work together to share ideas, information, and skills to deliver a stronger local response to loneliness and isolation, affecting our most vulnerable people.

Here's a video summarising the Connection Network:

 

Tower Hamlets Connection Network is hosting a meeting on Wednesday 25 May, in person from 10am – 12.30pm at Spotlight, 30 Hay Currie Street E14 6GN.

We'll be hearing from the authors of the GLAs’ recent Reconceptualising Loneliness report and will be working in groups to understand how we can apply this learning in Tower Hamlets.

We will also have an update from the East End Community Foundation about the Small Grants fund and will be hearing from leaders within Tower Hamlets Loneliness Task Group.

There’ll be plenty of opportunities to understand the issues and priorities, as we shape the next steps of the Connection Network.

Who should attend?

This event is suitable for all groups working to address loneliness in Tower Hamlets, from estate or neighbour-led projects to borough wide voluntary sector, health, community and statutory partners.

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.

Find out more and register now.

What are we doing about loneliness?

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.

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 sue.denning@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

 

If you or your organisation are working to reduce loneliness in your community and would like to join the network, please contact sue.denning@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Let’s talk loneliness website

In October 2018, the government launched its Loneliness Strategy and from this, the #LetsTalkLoneliness campaign was launched. 

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