Theresa May says tackling loneliness is ‘a national mission’ as she launches new strategy
Theresa May has said tackling loneliness is a “national mission” as the Government announced plans to plough millions of pounds into a new scheme to reduce it.
The UK's' first ever loneliness strategy will enable GPs to refer patients to community activities, in an initiative known as "social prescribing".
The Prime Minister pledged £1.8m to increase the number of community spaces, which builds on £20m committed earlier this year to fund local groups.
In the accompanying report, Mrs May pays tribute to late Labour MP Jo Cox, whose death inspired the creation of the Loneliness Commission.
The Prime Minister wrote: “Across our communities there are people who can go for days, weeks or even a month without seeing a friend or family member.
“So Jo Cox was absolutely right to highlight the critical importance of this growing social injustice which sits alongside childhood obesity and mental wellbeing as one of the greatest public health challenges of our time.
“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.
“This strategy is only the beginning of delivering a long and far reaching social change in our country - but it is a vital first step in a national mission to end loneliness in our lifetimes.”
The Government scheme has partnered with a number of high-profile businesses - including Sainsbury’s, Transport for London, Co-op, British Red Cross, National Grid and the civil service - who have committed to reducing loneliness among their employees.
According to research by Age UK around 200,000 older people in Britain have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in over a month.
As part of the new strategy, a number of Cabinet positions will now have addressing loneliness added to their ministerial responsibilities, with the aim of embedding the issue at the heart of Government.
Loneliness teaching will also be added to the school curriculum from 2020.