Loneliness fund puts £9m up for grabs to charities and community groups

Grants of between £30,000 and £100,000 are available from the government's Building Connections Fund, set up to tackle loneliness

Lonely people the beneficiaries of the fund (Photograph: Shutterstock)
Lonely people the beneficiaries of the fund (Photograph: Shutterstock)

Charities and community groups in England can apply for a share of a £9m fund set up to tackle loneliness.

Grants of between £30,000 and £100,000 are available from the government’s Building Connections Fund to projects aimed at reducing loneliness by reaching out to people of all ages and encouraging them to take part in activities that will make them feel more connected.

The Building Connections Fund, which totals £11.5m, was announced last month by the Prime Minister Theresa May and Tracey Crouch, the charities minister, who is also the loneliness minister.

The fund comprises £5m each from the government and the Big Lottery Fund, and a further £1m from the Co-operative Foundation.

The fund was set up in response to recommendations made by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, established in memory of the murdered MP Jo Cox.

The £9m will be distributed by the BLF, and a further £2m from the fund will be distributed by the Co-Op Foundation, with grants of up to £80,000 available for youth organisations that already help young people avoid long-term loneliness.

A further £300,000 from the fund will go towards evaluation, helping to increase evidence and understanding of what works to tackle loneliness

In a statement, Crouch said: "Loneliness is a serious issue that can affect anybody. Communities suffer when people feel disconnected or alone, but by working together we can reduce its stigma and build on the legacy of Jo Cox.

"I encourage charities and community groups across the country to help us tackle loneliness. This fund will help to improve people’s lives and build stronger communities."

All grants will be announced in December 2018, with funding available to support projects until March 2021.

A further £5m will be distributed by the People’s Postcode Lottery to organisations it already funds that are tackling loneliness, and £4m will be given out by the Health Lottery.

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