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Tackling the loneliness epidemic as a local authority

On June 21, 2023 Houses of Parliament held a briefing on tackling loneliness and connecting communities. Carry on reading for the key takeaways for local authorities looking to make a difference. 

Who is at risk? 

The government has recommended that local authorities identify areas where loneliness is common. Possible sources of information may consist of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA), as well as local insights and national data, including resources from organizations like the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Age UK.

A study by the ONS found the following individuals to be at the biggest risk of loneliness:

  • Older people
  • Marginalised groups
  • Windowed homeowners living alone with health conditions
  • Single, middle-aged people living alone with health conditions 
  • Young renters new to the area 

How should local authorities be tackling loneliness?

The LGA suggest that local authorities should take preventative measures to tackle loneliness before it becomes a more serious issue for the individual at risk. This also helps reduce costs for health and social care in the long run. Councils should harness their knowledge of the local community to lead initiatives and collaborate with partners to make positive change. 

To effectively address loneliness, it is also essential to adopt a comprehensive approach involving all stakeholders, with a particular emphasis on the voluntary and community sector (VCS). This collective effort should be led strategically by a Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB). Collaborative action from various local partners is crucial to diminishing loneliness. While councils, the NHS, and the VCS play central roles, other contributors such as the transportation and housing sectors also hold significant responsibilities in this endeavour.

The Campaign to End Loneliness has created a Loneliness Framework which provides a variety of interventions required in a local area to support vulnerable and lonely people. Other valuable resources include Age UK’s loneliness heatmap and Reaching Out – a guide produced by the LGA and the National Association of Local Councils.

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