8 February

Monday afternoon, I attended the APPG meeting on loneliness in older age which was chaired by Nusrat Ghani the Conservative MP for Whealden. The meeting was organised by the group’s secretariat, Age UK. The meeting presented an overview of the latest research on loneliness and looked at how local authorities are addressing it.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Ageing and Older People meets throughout the year to discuss current political and legislative issues that affect people in later life. The group is a way of exploring and reviewing these issues whilst bringing together parliamentarians, relevant stakeholder organisations and older people themselves.

Gregor Henderson,National Lead for Wellbeing and Mental Health at Public Health England spoke about a report they recently published with researchers from UCL Institute of Health Equity on reducing social isolation across the life course. He emphasised how loneliness must be tackled on a number of levels including the individual, community and societal levels. He also said Public Health England is very interested in ways of preventing loneliness and social isolation.

Gregor was followed by Councillor Jonathan McShane, LGA Community Wellbeing Board member and Lead Member for Health, Social Care and Culture at Hackney Council. He introduced the new guidance on combating loneliness published with Age UK and the Campaign to End Loneliness which is aimed at local authorities.

In addition to Gregor and Jonathan, there were two participants from Call in Time telephone befriending service.