APPG on Loneliness releases report on ‘connected recovery’

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Loneliness has launched its first independent inquiry report making the case for a ‘connected recovery’.

The inquiry explored problems and identified solutions within four crucial policy areas, including:

  • translating national policy into local action through local authorities
  • community infrastructure (including housing, transport and public spaces)
  • how to adequately fund the voluntary and community sector upon which social prescribing depends
  • designing and implementing ways to test the implications of government policies on loneliness.

The key findings were:

  • There are too many barriers preventing people from connecting – such as a lack of safe, welcoming and accessible green spaces, parks and gardens, public toilets, playing areas, local bus services, and ramps for people with disabilities.
  • Too many people face barriers to digital connection as a result of lack of access to mobile technology and the internet, as well as a lack of digital skills and confidence.
  • Poorly designed or unsuitable housing and neighbourhoods can make it hard for people to meet each other, maintain social connections and develop a sense of belonging.
  • Some communities and groups were highlighted as facing particular disadvantage in relation to transport and mobility.

Key recommendations

The Prime Minister should commit to a “Connected Recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic, recognising the need for long-term work to rebuild social connections following periods of isolation and the importance of connection to resilience to future shocks.

To achieve this, the APPG sets out a roadmap, calling on the government to adopt 15 recommendations, designed to:

  • Tackle loneliness through national leadership, including re-establishing the cross-government approach to tackling loneliness, long-term funding and improving the evidence base.
  • Translate national policy into local action, including incentivising local authorities and their partners to develop local action plans to tackle loneliness.
  • Invest in the community and social infrastructure needed to connect, particularly in areas with higher levels of deprivation. This should include a long-term investment in the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector to realise the full potential of social prescribing – a flagship of the Government’s original loneliness strategy.
  • Loneliness proof all new transport and housing developments, and close the digital divide by increasing digital skills and confidence.

To read the full report, please click here.