While there are many older people in Reading experiencing loneliness and social isolation, it’s important to remember that people of any age can be affected during their lifetime, particularly around significant life changes.
In 2018, a host of local and national reports highlighted specific groups of people most likely to experience loneliness and social isolation: widowed older homeowners living alone with long-term health conditions; unmarried, middle-agers with long term health conditions, who are more likely to rent rather than own their home; young renters new to Reading with little trust or sense of belonging to their area; parents of young children; people of any age with a disability.
Berkshire Community Foundations 2018 Vital Signs Survey
Results of the Berkshire Community Foundation 2018 Vital Signs survey show continuing concern about isolation and loneliness in Berkshire communities and support for family befriending services. The survey describes loneliness as often ‘invisible’ and like a ‘cancer’. One respondent commented: ‘We need to do everything we can to combat it and help organisations which seek to help lonely people of all ages’.
RBC’s Loneliness and Social Isolation Steering Group
Reading Borough Council hosts the Reading Loneliness and Social Isolation Steering Group, and its action plan shows how everyone has a part to play, from the larger public bodies to small community groups and individuals – neighbours, friends and families. A number of voluntary and community groups are represented on this Steering Group, including RVA, but if your organisation is unable to attend meetings and would like to raise awareness of a particular local need related to loneliness, please get in touch with Rhiannon Stocking-Williams at RVA’s Ready Friends Project.
Funding to help tackle loneliness and social isolation
This subject continues to be very much part of the national and local conversation and a variety of small to large grants are available to voluntary and community groups to help tackle loneliness and social isolation. Befriending services are a vital part of local provision, but any activity that encourages people to get out and involved in their local neighbourhood or community will help reduce social isolation and loneliness. There’s a wealth of evidence available to support applications, including RVA’s 2017 Research, RBC’s 2018 Needs Analysis on Loneliness and BCF’s 2018 Vital Signs Survey.
Vital for Berkshire funding – open until 25 January 2019
Berkshire Community Foundation’s ‘Vital for Berkshire’ second funding round is now open for applications, with grants available of up to £10,000. Application forms must be completed online and submitted along with governing documents by 9.00 am on the morning of Friday 25 January 2019 in order to be considered by the Grants Panel in March 2019.
Helping to reduce loneliness and social isolation in Reading – get in touch
If you would like to talk about your project or activity idea to reduce loneliness and social isolation, please get in touch with Rhiannon at the Ready Friends Project to find out about getting it off the ground, funding it, possible partners you can work with and publicising it to ensure it reaches people who need it.