Must Know: loneliness: is your council actively tackling loneliness?
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION
Local Government Association
The purpose of this guide is help local authorities assess whether they are actively tackling loneliness. Tackling loneliness is a preventative measure that improves quality of life for individuals and reduces long-term costs for health and social care. Councils have a key role to play, using their knowledge of the local community to bring together partners and lead projects. The guide covers: the role of councils; loneliness as a growing national priority; the impact of COVID-19; identifying who is at risk; loneliness vs social isolation; strategy and partnership; what can be done; questions to consider; and resources for further information. Key messages include: loneliness is a public health priority, in a similar way to smoking and obesity, and affects people of all ages throughout the life course; the pandemic has made problems worse, with social networks disrupted and people, including children and young people, left isolated from family and friends during lockdowns; tackling loneliness is a preventative measure that improves quality of life for individuals and reduces long-term costs for health and social care; interventions are generally low-cost or cost-neutral and can provide a good return on investment; reducing loneliness requires all local partners (Councils, the NHS and the voluntary and community sector) to work together, adopting strategic and a system-wide approaches; a range of tools are available solutions – these include a Framework for interventions developed by the Campaign to End Loneliness, Age UK’s Loneliness heat map, Open referral data project and Reaching Out, a guide produced by the LGA and National Association of Local Councils; public health messages can help people realise the importance of building and maintaining social relationships; individuals and communities have a role in ensuring that people who are lonely and isolated are identified and included. (Edited publisher abstract)