‘Combating Loneliness and Isolation to Improve Health and Wellbeing’

In March the Campaign to End Loneliness partnered with Westminster Briefing to host a conference on tackling loneliness. The event brought together representatives from charities, voluntary organisations and Government to discuss this complex and multi-faceted issue, sharing best practice and discussing the gaps and challenges faced by those working to support people in older age.

The day was split into two sessions, with the morning session covering issues around combating loneliness and isolation and the second session dedicated to learning from best practice in the sector.  

In the morning, Dr Kellie Payne, Learning and Research Manager and Miriam Christie, Campaigns and Communications Manager  from the Campaign to End Loneliness presented the health risks associated with loneliness and the loneliness framework which can be applied in order to help lonely individuals. They were followed by Elaine Rashbrook, National Lead for Older People from Public Health England gave us PHE’s view on how to reduce social isolation and loneliness among older people. She showed that a life course approach was the most promising and that the evidence base needs to be more robust.  The final speaker of the morning was Alison Lawrence from the Depression Alliance who showed the links between depression and loneliness.

In the afternoon, there were presentations which featured interventions into loneliness and best practice case studies. First was Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age who presented on the work Social Finance is doing with Age UK Worcestershire on the Reconnections Social Impact Bond project. She was followed by Lourdes Colclough, Community Development Manger from St Joseph’s Hospice who presented on the Newham Bereavement Service. The Service has trained over 70 volunteers to provide a community based bereavement support that includes regular visits, company and chant. Richard Kramer, Deputy Chief Executive from Sense explored the unique challenges people with sensory loss experience in relation to loneliness. Richard was followed by Victoria Dunn, Business Development Manager, Age UK South Tyneside and Rachel Nicholson, Senior Public Health Advanced Practitioner, South Tyneside Council presented on a programme that is being supported by their two organisations in South Tyneside which meant they developed a comprehensive approach to reducing loneliness.

The event was attended by 50 people many representing local authorities and charities across the country.

9 March London