On a day where the government has launched a new strategy for loneliness, Livability is pleased to be part of a Christian coalition looking at community approaches to tackling isolation.
Entitled ‘A Connected Society – a strategy for tackling loneliness’, the report highlights the importance of community connections and social prescribing, in helping people reduce the risk of loneliness in their lives. The strategy also acknowledges the key role that faith groups play on a local level explaining that:
‘The most effective answer to the challenge of loneliness is the simple decision of families, friends, faith groups and communities to include each other and to be open to new social connections.’
With this in mind, during the past year, a group of ten national Christian charities, working in the field of loneliness and isolation among older people has been meeting to share ideas and coordinate activity where possible.
The group, known as Christians Together Against Loneliness (CTAL) is working collectively to raise awareness of this issue and they will be exploring opportunities which exist for churches and individual Christians to respond to this strategy through new or existing initiatives.
The partner organisations include: Livability, Linking Lives UK, The Salvation Army, Pilgrims Friend, Torches Trust, Parish Nursing Ministries UK, Care Home Friends and The Gift of Years.
Earlier this year, the coalition published a resource to support churches create connections in their community by holding community meals. ‘Make A Meal Of It‘ is targeted at churches, and provides simple and practical ways that churches can run meals that makes everyone feel at home.
‘A whole-community approach to tackling loneliness is fundamental, and we can’t do this without partnerships. As members of Christians Together Against Loneliness, we recognise there’s a call for all of us to share the gifts and strengths we have to build the kind of communities where everybody can take part.’
“In our society – it’s unacceptable that people’s health should suffer due to a lack of connections and good support. Too many disabled people are facing barriers to their inclusion and participation – and are therefore risk of isolation and loneliness.”
“That’s why at Livability, we’re working hard to put good connections in place for the people that use our services. We welcome any work and provision of supporting people get connected and hope the government’s new strategy will help establish the vital need for us all to work together on this issue.”
‘The church has a distinctive role to play in coming alongside and caring for those often on the margins of society, and we can all continue to play our part in addressing this increasingly important issue’.