Our response to the latest Office for National Statistics research published today, which map levels of loneliness during the coronavirus epidemic.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has just released a really valuable study giving new insight into loneliness in local areas. Most importantly the number of adults saying they are lonely “always or often” has risen a lot from the beginning of lockdown to the October to February period.
The research suggests it has gone up by over one million people from 2.6 million to 3.7 million people. The findings show some things protect us from loneliness: having a job, living with others and being in a neighbourhood where we are safe with local places to meet.
Today’s report also shows how lockdown has especially affected young people – they are the most likely to say that loneliness has affected their wellbeing. That means they might not think of themselves as generally being lonely – but that loneliness is affecting them now. Loneliness can affect us very deeply so the challenge for now is to make sure that as we emerge from restrictions we do not leave people behind who may still be feeling lonely. That is a job for all of us. But there is also a role for the Government and local authorities.
The APPG on Loneliness has a realistic recommendations to ensure a “Connected Recovery”. That means funding for action on loneliness, cross-government support for the Minister for Loneliness and investing in the community and social infrastructure that helps bring us together.
The pandemic has showed us all the value of our relationships and how they can get us through the most difficult times. We need to invest for them in the future.