Written by Helayna Jenkins, Principal Loneliness Champion at London Borough of Bromley

Tackling Loneliness in the London Borough of Bromley has been high on the agenda since 2019. Through various workshop sessions and meetings with partners, voluntary sector organisations and community groups, the Tackling Loneliness Strategy 2022 – 2026 was developed.

The Leader of the Council and Senior Leadership Team felt so strongly about this initiative that they commissioned the role of Principal Loneliness Champion in late 2022 to implement the strategy across the borough for people of all ages, stages of life and backgrounds.

Since the strategy went live, these are a number of notable projects and initiatives we have implemented across the borough:

  • Creating a database of social activities, healthy living support, advice, self-help initiatives within an e-directory. It now boasts around 1,500 activities at low or no cost and is used both by residents and front-line professionals as well as the voluntary and community sector.
  • Delivery of a free, professionally accredited Tackling Loneliness Workshop which has seen over 320 people attend from across the statutory, voluntary and private sectors to increase awareness of loneliness, recognise those at risk of experiencing loneliness, have the tools to start up a conversation with individuals about it and signpost residents to support services.
  • Residents in Bromley living with a disability told us that they needed more information about travelling across the borough to stay connected with others. We produced a Guide to Accessible Transport to support residents to travel more easily and safely.
  • A creative, intergenerational project was started through a Christmas Card Scheme which saw 5,000 cards produced by Bromley primary and secondary schools, Children and Family Centres and after school clubs. These were distributed to care homes, extra care housing schemes, those receiving domiciliary care, young carers, families being supported by the youth justice service, food banks, people with long term health issues, hospital patients and many other groups across the borough.
  • Big Lunches through Eden Project Communities brought over 200 people together in June 2023. 2 Big lunches were hosted internally within the Council and others within parks and open spaces across the borough to promote togetherness and highlight what the community has to offer people to prevent loneliness.
  • The Bromley Platinum Jubilee Parks Fund was launched in July 2022. The £1 million fund aims to contribute towards community led projects that improve Bromley Council’s green spaces in line with the Open Space Strategy, with over £660,000 already being allocated within the borough.
  • The Tackling Loneliness HUB has a dedicated Local Authorities Tackling Loneliness group for other council colleagues to connect, share best practice, information, and policy.

To date, one of the highlights of the initiative is that the London Borough of Bromley received the Gold iESE Transformation Award within the Community & Customer Focus Category for the work which the Tackling Loneliness Strategy is delivering across the community. The iESE Transformation Awards are open to all public sector organisations, internationally. This is a huge accolade, and getting the public sector talking about loneliness is more important than ever.

Bromley’s Tackling Loneliness Strategy has achieved so much over the past 18 months, with many more highlights still to come. Enabling the sustainability of the strategy’s work is incredibly important to ensure lasting cultural change for residents living within the borough.

To find out more information go to Tackling loneliness – London Borough of Bromley.