Bromley Council’s well-established work to combat loneliness will be driven forward today with the launch of a new tackling loneliness strategy.
The strategy shines a light on those affected and the causes and solutions building on the knowledge gained, and achievements made, since the very first loneliness summit nearly three years ago and stakeholder workshops held in the summer and autumn this year.
“Loneliness can affect anyone at any time in their life – it does not discriminate. Very sadly, the effects of loneliness can have significant long-lasting negative effects on people’s health and wellbeing,” said Councillor Aisha Cuthbert, Executive Assistant to the Leader of the Council and Bromley’s Loneliness Champion.
“There is no quick fix to tackling loneliness entirely, but our strategy seeks to address the many causes and work in partnership with the voluntary, charity and private sectors across Bromley to help minimise loneliness in our borough. I am very proud to champion this strategy through multi-agency work to help spot people who might be lonely or socially isolated and who would benefit from some support.
“We know that Christmas can be a particularly difficult time of year for people experiencing loneliness and I want to encourage all our residents to get in touch with friends, family and neighbours who they think may be lonely this holiday season.”
“We want to make sure that Bromley is a borough where families, friends and communities support each other, especially at vulnerable points in life when people are at greater risk of loneliness. We want a culture in our borough where loneliness is recognised and acted on without stigma or shame so that we all look out for one another.”
Council Leader, Councillor Colin Smith agreed: “I wholeheartedly supported the initial summit to enable work with partners to identify the issues and see what could be done to alleviate some of the devastating problems caused by isolation and loneliness.
“Little did we know then how prophetic this work would prove to be with the pandemic undoubtedly exacerbating the feelings of loneliness in many people’s lives during lockdowns and self-isolation. I am absolutely delighted with the outstanding work being carried out by all concerned under what remain uniquely challenging circumstances and thank Councillor Cuthbert in particular for her tireless determination and leadership in pushing the programme forward.
“We all look forward now in keen anticipation to future developments and the delivery of this strategy.”
Councillor Diane Smith, Executive Member for Care and Health said: “This initiative reinforces work within the ageing well strategy developed by the council with the Bromley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and recently developed children and families early help strategy which also has a strong focus on loneliness. I have no doubt we will go on to raise the spirits of many both those benefiting from the proposed initiatives and also our wonderful residents who selflessly volunteer their time and effort to make Bromley the fantastic place it is today.”
There are three main priorities within the tackling loneliness strategy which were identified over the summer months through wide-ranging workshops with partner organisations. These cover initiatives such as bringing together information and services and establishing community champions that will enable people to be more connected within a culture that encourages strong social relationships to grow. People and communities are a critical part of the solution, as well as challenging obstacles that isolate people and groups.
The full tackling loneliness strategy is on the council’s website at www.bromley.gov.uk/loneliness
Residents who are able to spare some time to volunteer are welcomed and should contact Community Links Bromley which has a range of volunteering opportunities to suit all interests.
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