Charities join partnership to combat loneliness

A video launch, outdoor advertising and £1m tech prize fund feature in Let’s Talk Loneliness campaigning.

Joe Lepper | 19th Jun 19

Charities, businesses and public sector organisations have come together to form a campaign to tackle loneliness.

Digital activity by the partnership, called Let’s Talk Loneliness and including members such as the British Red Cross, The Marmalade Trust and Public Health England, includes the release of a short online film called Less of a Lonely Place.

This features the voices of young people talking about their personal experiences of loneliness. The film also features the work of young animators.

Other activity includes digital advertising for the campaign being shown on 20 big screens across the UK by outdoor media specialists Ocean Outdoor.

Zoe Abrams, British Red Cross Executive Director, Communications and Advocacy, said: “Our research shows that nearly one in five people feel lonely always or often, so reducing the stigma around loneliness for people of all ages and backgrounds is an imperative.

“We hope that by encouraging everyone to talk about it, this campaign will help break down barriers to combating loneliness and empower those struggling to reach out for support.”

£1m prize fund available

In addition, charitable foundation Nesta is running a Tech to Connect Challenge Prize, which opens from 26 June to 7 August and aims to find technological solutions to the problem of social isolation.

Charities and social enterprises are being urged to take part in the prize, which is backed by £1m in government funding.

“Social isolation is a major public health issue affecting people of any background, age or location. This includes people living with long term conditions and limited mobility, and those facing prejudice due to belief, age, gender, sexuality and ethnicity.,” said Tris Dyson, Executive Director at Nesta Challenges said:

“The Tech to Connect Challenge is all about using innovation to tackle social isolation, offering charities, social enterprises and social ventures the funding and expertise to bring their ideas to life. We want to hear from any civil society organisation with a strong idea on how to make a meaningful difference to social isolation.

“We will provide guided support to seven finalists, so that they can develop their concepts into working prototypes. By turning the strongest ideas into reality, we will help tackle one of the major challenges facing our society.”

One of biggest health challenges

The partnership has been announced to coincide with Loneliness Awareness Week (17 -21 June, 2019)

Minister for Loneliness Mims Davies added: “Loneliness is one of the biggest health challenges our country faces. It can affect anyone at any time and its impact is in line with smoking or obesity. But we can only begin to help one another if we feel able to understand, recognise and talk about it.

“Let’s Talk Loneliness’ will encourage us all to engage with this issue, speak up without stigma, spot the signs of loneliness and help build more meaningful connections so people feel less isolated.”