County council in bid to tackle loneliness in Essex communities

Essex County Council

Essex County Council - Credit: Archant

Essex County Council has announced a new county wide approach to tackle loneliness and social isolation in communities.

The council says it wants to work with residents to find ways to better connect people to create "a sense of belonging".

Working with Provide CIC Rural Community Council Essex and WECAN as partners, the council will seek to "help communities build their resilience" while supporting initiatives that challenge loneliness and increase the sense of community in Essex's towns and villages.

A spokesman for the county council said: "Across Essex, community groups, local businesses, charities and individuals are finding their own innovative and creative ways to tackle loneliness.

"From initiatives such as 'meet up Mondays' where people come together for a coffee, cake and a chat, through to community hubs which have specific support groups and activities, the new approach to tackle loneliness and social isolation champions these local solutions and helps them grow - believing everyone has something to offer to their communities."

Research commissioned by the county council in 2018 showed that residents across Essex believed the way to challenge loneliness was by building stronger, friendlier, more inclusive communities while also realising that while everyone may feel lonely at some point in their life, little acts of kindness can make a difference.

The research, carried out by Britain Thinks, also showed that those people who felt better connected and had a sense of belonging to a place were less likely to feel lonely.

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Councillor Sue Barker, cabinet member for customer, corporate, culture and communities, said: "Our approach to tackling loneliness and social isolation brings together partners, providers, the community and individuals. Ranging from putting people in touch with a local group, through to more structured befriending services - there is a range of support available and no one needs to feel alone."

Later this month the council and its partners will also be supporting the social movement United in Kind, encouraging residents to build on the momentum growing across Essex to build stronger, friendlier and inclusive communities.

Councillor John Spence, cabinet member for health and adult social care said: "Working hand in hand with our local communities is crucial as they understand how loneliness impacts on individuals at a local level and can design and build the support mechanisms that suit their community."