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Social classes to be recommended in government effort to tackle loneliness

Theresa May has announced a new government scheme to help tackle loneliness with artistic pursuits such as dance, cooking and painting classes.

The plan follows government findings that concluded as many as one-fifth of adults in the UK feel lonely the majority of the time and that 200,000 elderly people go more than a month without talking to family or friends. Three quarters of doctors surveyed also admitted that they receive one to five visits daily from people asking for help on how to tackle loneliness. The results led to the Prime Minister labelling loneliness: “one of the greatest public health challenges of our time.”

The new strategy includes giving GPs permission to prescribe social activities, such as dance, cooking and painting classes, to those suffering with loneliness. Government funding will be channelled into the NHS to help patients connect with an assortment of social activities, with all GPs planned to be adopting “social prescribing” by 2023.

Postal workers are also being encouraged to check on the wellbeing of the people they visit every day, with a trial period planned for Liverpool, New Malden and Whitby in partnership with the Royal Mail.

Alongside the original £20 million dedicated to combatting loneliness in January, a further £1.8 million will be dedicated to community projects, such as gardens, art spaces and new cafes. May also announced that several businesses – including Transport for London, Co-op, British Red Cross and Sainsbury’s – have vowed to take further action to support the social wellbeing of their staff.

When announcing the strategy, May paid homage to the late Labour MP Jo Cox. Cox had campaigned to put an end to loneliness before her death and the Loneliness Commission was set up shortly after she passed in her memory. May said: “I was pleased to be able to support the Loneliness Commission set up in Jo’s name and I am determined to do everything possible to take forward its recommendations.”

We think it's wonderful that the government is putting strategies in place to help tackle loneliness. Our team of home carers understand that loneliness is a huge problem affecting people in the UK, our welfare checks and other care services ensure our clients never feel alone. To find out more about our home care and live in care services in the South, contact us today!