THREE local authorities that have come under fire for failing to make a significant commitment to tackling loneliness have pledged to address the issue in Health and Wellbeing Strategies.
The Yorkshire Post, along with the Campaign to End Loneliness, believe it is vital that any efforts to alleviate loneliness or social isolation are cemented in these policy documents to ensure any good work already taking place cannot be sidelined in future.
Calderdale Council Leader, Coun Stephen Baines, said it is committed to ending loneliness, and it is looking at making the references in its strategy “more specific”. In April, along with Calderdale CCG, the council invested £1m into projects set up to make a difference to the lives of lonely and isolated people, and funding is now available for groups to create new and innovative activities.
In Doncaster, where the strategy is currently being refreshed, Coun Tony Corden, vice chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said loneliness has been identified as an “area to be addressed” and would be included.
He added: “There are many activities across Doncaster which aim to improve health and wellbeing and that includes tackling loneliness and isolation.”
Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for adults and health, Coun Pat Garbutt said it would be updating its strategy in the spring and tackling loneliness would be central to future plans.
She added: “Reducing loneliness remains an on-going priority. Although we might not use these words, we have recognised the issue of loneliness and social isolation within the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy.”
Now just East Riding and North East Lincolnshire remain.
A North East Lincolnshire Council spokesperson said although loneliness is not specifically mentioned, tackling both it and isolation is a “key part” of some of the projects mentioned within the strategy.
East Riding Council said it was “keen to address” loneliness and has worked with the health service to fund luncheon clubs, coffee mornings, a telephone befriending service, and IT classes, specifically focused on social isolation and loneliness for older people.