Charities share £11.5m to tackle loneliness

The Building Connections Fund has a focus on using digital and social media to combat social isolation among vulnerable groups.

Joe Lepper | 2nd Jan 19
Image of elderly man sitting alone on a bench.

Digital projects to support care leavers, the elderly and families of prisoners abroad are among more than 100 initiatives to share £11.5m in funding to tackle loneliness.

The money has been handed out to 126 programmes through the Building Connections Fund, which was created earlier this year by a partnership involving the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Big Lottery Fund and the Co-op Foundation.

Among the successful bidders is the Care Leavers Association, which has been awarded £100,000 for a national project to develop a social media platform to connect care leavers who have lived in specific foster care and residential placements.

Through the Care Experienced Connections project the Association will also develop a resource and training package for other charities and the public sector to better understand care leaver isolation.

Digital champions project gains funding

A digital inclusion project by Stainforth4all to train unemployed young people as voluntary digital champions to work with the elderly in Yorkshire and Humber has received £36,610.

Another charity to receive funding is Prisoners Abroad, which has netted £99,723 to create an online digital community for more than 1,000 families of prisoners abroad in Liverpool, Brighton and Colchester.

Other projects to receive funding include a digital toolkit being developed by Bath and North East Somerset Carers Centre to help carer support groups.

Improving transport links and providing sports classes are among other initiatives also being funded through the Building Connections Fund.

“There is no one cause of loneliness and therefore no one solution. That is why we are working alongside a broad range of businesses, voluntary organisations and local councils to ensure that those who feel alone are best supported,” said Minister for Loneliness, Mims Davies.

“From new digital communities, to sports classes that bring people together, this fund will go a long way to achieving that goal. I am committed to encouraging open conversations around this sensitive topic to reduce the stigma and create an environment where everyone is better connected.”

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