JONES Dan, JOPLING Kate, KHARICHA Kalpa
A review of the impact of Covid-19 on UK loneliness and what we can expect in future. The report finds that although restrictions on social contact during lockdown were universal, people had very different experiences of loneliness. Covid-19 exacerbated existing inequalities, meaning that groups already at risk of loneliness – such as those who were poorer, in worse health or from ethnic minorities or LGBTQ+ communities – were at greater risk during the pandemic. Those who were already lonely before the pandemic were likely to become even more lonely. The report finds that organisations responsible for addressing loneliness experienced more demand for their services because: the co-ordinated response to loneliness during the pandemic identified many people who were already lonely, but not previously known to services; the impact of Covid-19 meant that more people were likely to be at risk of chronic loneliness, perhaps because they had lost their job or been ill; people who were already lonely, experienced deep isolation, and many experienced changes in their circumstances as a result of the pandemic which meant they became even more lonely. The report calls on the Government to provide enough funding to maintain services and support for people experiencing chronic loneliness in the wake of the pandemic; ensure that support is particularly targeted at the most disadvantaged communities where loneliness is a particular risk; take action and invest to ensure a ‘connected recovery’, strengthening community capacity, with funding for green spaces, high streets and meeting places as well as transport and digital connectivity.