How can we tackle loneliness?

How can we support communities to combat loneliness at a national and local level?

About this project

Loneliness and isolation is now recognised as a key factor affecting physical and mental health. At a policy level loneliness in older people has been given most attention, but this is a phenomenon which is manifested at a range of life stages, including amongst teenagers, new parents, and the recently bereaved or divorced.

Whilst loneliness and social isolation impacts different genders and age groups in a range of ways, there are similarities to be found between the successful practical solutions which help to reduce the public health burden, encourage co-operation and co-production in localities, and make the best use of local resources.

In 2016, Common Vision worked with the Co-op and British Red Cross to explore how communities can combat loneliness at a local and national level.

Key questions

How can we tackle intergenerational loneliness at different life stages?
How can we combat loneliness at a local level?
To what extent can the public health burden be alleviated through loneliness and isolation interventions?


The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, with interests across food, funerals, insurance, electrical and legal services. It has a clear purpose of championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities. Owned by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op has 3,750 outlets, with more than 70,000 colleagues. In 2015, Co-op members voted in support of fundraising and campaigning with the British Red Cross to tackle loneliness, with the ambition of raising in the region of £3.5m.

British Red Cross’s vision is of a world where everyone gets the help they need in a crisis. Its mission is to mobilise the power of humanity so that individuals and communities can prepare for, deal with and recover from crises. More than 21,500 volunteers and 4,100 staff work together to fulfil its vision and mission both here and overseas. It helps hundreds of thousands of people cope with all kinds of crises – from disasters and conflicts to individual injuries and other personal challenges. Its work includes support in emergencies, refugee support, independent living services and first aid and humanitarian education. The combined effect is to help both individuals and communities prepare for, cope with and recover from a range of crises.

Further information

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