'Address rising tide of loneliness and social isolation'
A coalition of national Christian charities is encouraging churches and individual Christians to engage in Loneliness Awareness Week
Christians Together Against Loneliness says that despite the easing of lockdown measures over recent weeks, there remains significant concern about the future health and wellbeing of many individuals of all ages for whom loneliness and social isolation is a daily reality.
A report published by Church Urban Fund found that loneliness and social isolation is the biggest issue, with 79 per cent among the 1,000 Anglican clergy surveyed reporting that the pandemic had greatly increased the degree to which people are experiencing loneliness.
It is widely considered, however, that the situation could be about to get worse particularly for those unable to leave their home at this time.
This week (14th-18th June) has been identified as Loneliness Awareness Week and there are various opportunities to get involved.
Many organisations are running special events, social media campaigns and other innovative initiatives to support those most at risk whilst also raising awareness.
Tina English, chair of Christians Together Against Loneliness, which has been in operation for six years, said, ‘As a group of charities we are working together to raise awareness of the problem of loneliness in the UK. Many churches are already at the forefront (either explicitly or not) through many of the activities and events being run on a local level across the country. We are aware that, in many cases, these efforts have been adapted in the past year and often stepped up in response to Covid-19.
‘We recognise that many people have developed a fear of venturing outside despite the rising levels of vaccinations being carried out. There is therefore a real need for organisations and individuals, including members of churches, to be particularly aware of those around us who may be struggling at this time.'
Loneliness Awareness Week was initial started by the Marmalade Trust and is now supported by the UK government (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and many national and local charities across the UK.
Further information about the initiative and activities taking place across the UK can be found on the Christians Together Against Loneliness website: www.ctal.uk