• British Red Cross’s new report, ‘Barriers to Belonging‘, shows that people from BAME backgrounds are more at risk of experiencing certain factors that cause loneliness, like feelings of not belonging, and discrimination.
  • It also shows that people from BAME backgrounds often face greater barriers to accessing help to join community activities, making social connections and creating a sense of belonging.
  • The research finds that belonging to your community – by feeling valued, included, safe and able to join in community activities – helps to tackle loneliness.

We welcome this report from British Red Cross, and think it’s vital that we listen to the experiences of loneliness among people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds – loneliness is subjective, and affects different people in different ways. We all need a sense of belonging no matter our age, gender or ethnicity.

This report shows that many people from BAME backgrounds don’t have this sense of belonging and acceptance in their communities. This can be extremely isolating. As the report says, “when we belong, we feel less alone”.

At every level of our society we have to reflect why some of us don’t feel like they belong. We have to make sure services that look to tackle loneliness make people from all backgrounds feel welcome and catered for. Feelings of safety and trust are important to help build connections.

As well as the known triggers and cumulative factors for loneliness – bereavement, loss of work or low income, physical and mental health problems and barriers to accessing services – this report highlights additional factors experienced by BAME groups including racism, discrimination and xenophobia. This has to change. Support for those who are lonely needs to be personalised, and be affordable, diverse and culturally sensitive. Community engagement and collaboration can help service providers better reflect the diversity within their communities.