Connected Communities: Welsh Loneliness and Social Isolation Strategy

Fri 14 Feb 2020

"Connected Communities: a strategy for tackling loneliness and social isolation and building stronger social connections" was published by the Welsh Government this week.

From the beginning, the Ministerial Forward makes it clear that these issues are important to the Welsh Government and announces that "To support this objective I will make an additional £1.4 million available over the next three financial years in the form of a Loneliness and Social Isolation Fund."

The strategy's focuses on cross-departmental working, something which addresses the complex causes and contributing factors to loneliness and social isolation. It also suggests that the agenda to tackle these issues will not be one department's domain, but will be embedded within city/town planning, housing, transport, health & social care, arts & culture, and third sector.

Befriending is specifically featured twice throughout the strategy. The first time it appears in relation to social prescribing as an example of an intervention that may be suggested by a link/community worker (p.22). The second time, befriending is mentioned as one of the services Powys provides ("In Powys a team of 10 Community Connectors help people over 18 and their families or carers to access community services. The aim is to support people to live independently and to prevent deterioration in their circumstances which may lead to a higher level of health and social care being required...In 2018-19 the service supported 1519 individuals from across Powys with 84% maintaining their independence and day to day living skills." p.38)

Greater government recognition of loneliness and social isolation is always encouraging and Befriending Networks looks forward to sharing more about the aforementioned fund with its members once further news is released.

Download and read your copy of Connected Communities here.