Local authority leaders have joined forces to produce a guide on how to tackle loneliness for commissioners, service providers, councillors and others working in the sector.
As part of its Loneliness Strategy, the Government called on the Local Government Association (LGA) and the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) to explore best practice in combating loneliness.
The new Reaching Out guide, launched today at NALC’s annual conference in Milton Keynes, outlines how councils can work together to improve individuals’ wellbeing as well as relieving some of the pressure on already overburdened council and health services.
Loneliness affects millions of people across the country and has far reaching implications, not just for the individual, but for families, the wider community and local services.
It can place additional pressure on services by increasing referrals to adult social care and visits to GP surgeries. The significance of this has been likened to issues such as obesity and smoking.
Cllr James Jamieson, chairman of the LGA, said: ‘Councils across all tiers are increasingly recognising the added value in reaching out and working together, because it is in our interests to tackle the significant impact of loneliness and other public health challenges.
‘We are committed to continuing to strengthen good practice and learning across the sector and in actively seeking to make a real difference in tackling loneliness in our communities.
‘Working together and toward a common goal we can build connected communities equipped and resourced to respond effectively to a wide range of needs.’
Cllr Sue Baxter, chair of NALC, commented: ‘In order to take forward the national strategy we must recognise local activity already underway and re-double our efforts to work more effectively in partnership across local government if we are to see real change in ending loneliness.’