Civil society minister announces £2m fund to help tackle loneliness

Baroness Barran says money will aid front-line projects that bring people together, such as community cafes and walking groups

Baroness Barran
Baroness Barran

The government will make £2m available to help small organisations tackle loneliness, the Minister for Civil Society has announced.

The fund, unveiled by Baroness Barran today, will be available to support front-line, grass-roots projects that bring people together and establish social connections, such as community cafes, coffee mornings or local walking groups.

The money could be used to fund sustainable venues and transportation or to allow organisations to promote themselves and their events more widely, according to a statement from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

A DCMS spokeswoman said full criteria and information on how to apply would be published "in due course".

The funding supplements the £11.5m Building Connections Fund, funded with the Co-op Foundation and the National Lottery Community Fund, and established as part of the government’s loneliness strategy, which was launched a year ago.

In a statement, Baroness Barran, who is also Minister for Loneliness, said: "Loneliness is one of the biggest public health challenges our country faces and we are committed to tackling it head on.

"I have had the privilege of meeting so many people, young and old, who are unsung heroes and heroines in their communities, bringing people together through cafes, reading groups, arts and crafts, gardening, sports and more.

"They have told me how they want a chance to celebrate their work, together with other local groups, so they can raise awareness and encourage more people to be involved."

She said the fund demonstrated the government’s continued commitment to beating loneliness.

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