Theresa May announces £20m for charities to tackle loneliness

The Building Connections Fund, for which applications are opening next month, will hand out £11m, with the other £9m coming from the People's Postcode Lottery and the Health Lottery

Theresa May (Photograph: PA)
Theresa May (Photograph: PA)

The Prime Minister has announced £20m of funding for charities and community groups to tackle loneliness.

Theresa May said the government had established an £11m Building Connections Fund, which is expected to open for applications in July, with a further £9m of loneliness funds being made available directly from the People’s Postcode Lottery and the Health Lottery, which are providing £5m and £4m respectively.

She said she hoped the funds would help hundreds of thousands of people in England who are struggling with social isolation by bringing them together in communities.

The money is also expected to support groups to understand the impact of their work and share best practice about how to prevent loneliness.

The funds will "help make the most of local spaces, opening them up for community use" and help businesses and local services combat isolation, a government statement said.

The £11m fund comprises £5m from both government and the Big Lottery Fund and a further £1m from the Co-operative Foundation.

Details on the application process and how much organisations will be able to apply for from the fund are not expected to be available until the BLF and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport open it to applications next month.

May said the work would build on continuing work, including this weekend’s Great Get Together, an event that was established to build more inclusive societies, set up in memory of the murdered MP Jo Cox.

"Feeling lonely or isolated can have a profound and devastating impact on people's lives," said May. "It can affect anyone of any age and from any background.

"But just as loneliness can affect any of us, so any of us can help to overcome it.

"The new funding set out today will make a big difference, helping more people to establish and maintain connections."

The People’s Postcode Lottery and the People’s Health Trust, which distributes funds from the Health Lottery, are expected to manage applications for their share of the funding independently.

The government’s work on loneliness is being led by Tracey Crouch, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society, who was given ministerial responsibility for it in January.

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