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Communities tackling ‘lockdown loneliness’ thanks to vital National Lottery funding

Almost 1,500 community groups across England – many of them helping to tackle social isolation and loneliness caused by the COVID-19 crisis – are in for a share of around £30 million in National Lottery funding awarded this month.

The money, raised by players and distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, has been announced as part of Loneliness Awareness Week (15 – 19 June). It also follows new research* from the Office of National Statistics showing that more than 7 million people in Britain have suffered from ‘lockdown loneliness’.

One charity leading the way in supporting those at risk of becoming lonely, is award-winning** Time to Talk Befriendingwhich was awarded over £90,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund last year, and due to a surge in demand for its support caused by the COVID-19 crisis, has just received a further £21,000.

By matching volunteer befrienders with vulnerable older people who would otherwise have minimal or no other social contact, the group provides the only long-term service of its kind in Worthing, now supporting more than 100 older people.

The much-needed funding will help the group expand its volunteer-led, intergenerational befriending service, so it can keep people of all ages connected and social during the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing limiting people from staying connected and socialising, the service has so far received four times more requests for support for older people struggling with isolation than usual.

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