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£9m fund for loneliness projects is now open for applications

Loneliness minister Tracey Crouch at Headingley Stadium, Leeds, earlier this year.
Loneliness minister Tracey Crouch at Headingley Stadium, Leeds, earlier this year.
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CHARITIES and community groups can now apply for up to £100,000 from a £9m fund set up to tackle loneliness.

The Government announced last month that it would pledged £5.5m towards the new fund, that will build on the legacy of murdered Batley MP Jo Cox.

In total, £20m is available for new and existing projects, with £11m forming the Building Connections Fund for new projects, which will help groups to make the most of local spaces, opening them up for community use, as well as helping business and local services combat isolation.

The £9m announced today is made up of Lottery cash and will support projects already working to prevent or reduce loneliness to increase their impact.

Read more: £20m loneliness fund will ‘build on Jo Cox’s legacy’
Minister for Loneliness, Tracey Crouch MP, said: “Loneliness is a serious issue that can affect anybody. Communities suffer when people feel disconnected or alone but by working together we can reduce its stigma and build on the legacy of Jo Cox.

“I encourage charities and community groups across the country to help us tackle loneliness. This fund will help improve people’s lives and build stronger communities.”

Read more: £20m loneliness fund 'exceeded expectations' says minister
Dawn Austwick, chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Feeling connected to the people around us can have a profound impact on our wellbeing, encouraging a sense of belonging and helping to prevent loneliness.

“That's why we’re proud to be launching this new fund in partnership with Government and the Co-op Foundation. Thanks to funding raised by National Lottery players, it will help inspire community spirit and spark new friendships between people of all ages.”

The remaining £2 million from the £11.5 million Building Connections Fund will be distributed by the Co-op Foundation, the UK’s leading funder of projects tackling youth loneliness.

Grants of up to £80,000 will be available for youth organisations already helping young people avoid long-term loneliness.

Applications to the Big Lottery Fund are now open and will close on Friday August 24. Guidance and criteria are available on the Big Lottery Fund website.

Applications to the youth-focused strand of the Building Connections Fund will open in August 2018. Guidance and criteria are available on the Co-op Foundation website.

All grants will be announced in December 2018, with funding available to support projects until March 2021.

The Yorkshire Post has been campaigning on the issue of loneliness since 2014. Read more here.