Tackling loneliness

In this section

Loneliness is described by the Campaign to End Loneliness as a subjective, unwelcome feeling of lack or loss of companionship, which happens when we have a mismatch between the quantity and quality of social relationships that we have, and those that we want. 

It can affect people of all ages and from all backgrounds - from the bullied school child, to the new mother, to the pensioner who has outlived her friends and immediate family. Feeling lonely becomes a major problem when people are overwhelmed by it and can’t, for many reasons, take action to tackle it.

Who is feeling lonely?

Loneliness is not something that is unique to the elderly:

  • Parents - Action for Children found 24% of parents surveyed were always or often lonely
  • Teenagers - 62% are 'sometimes lonely' and one in 20 never spend time with friends at weekends
  • Carers - 8 out of 10 carers have felt lonely or isolated as a result of looking after a loved one

How is East of England Co-op Involved?

East of England Co-op currently has made £70k available to support a number of suitable projects, which would have a positive impact on loneliness in the communities that we serve.

To achieve our aims and ensure that the allocated funds are used effectively, East of England Co-op is working in partnership with the Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex Community Foundations to enable community groups to bid for a share of the funds.

The groups that have been supported through the Fund in 2018 are: 


Gateway Vineyard - Enhancing a volunteer led community drop in for those who are isolated and vulnerable including the elderly, carers and people with mental health difficulties.

Hub Community Project - Setting up a holiday club to take place in the Easter and Summer holidays for older people in the community who are isolated / lonely and / or socially excluded.

Lighthouse Attleborough - Supporting the work with older people currently in place, these include a befriending service, monthly social meetings, transport and practical support.

New Routes Integration - Supporting their befriending service which matches volunteers with new arrivals to help individuals overcome the extreme isolation and challenges they may face. 

Norwich Door to Door - Supporting the running cost of the minibuses for regular outings in 2018 for people with very complex needs and who otherwise would be isolated.

Sunbeams Play - Setting up new office space for the staff to provide support to the families/carers of children and young people on the Autistic Spectrum, to free up the current space for sessions with the young people.

Supporting Women & Activities Network (SWAN) - To extend the weekly sessions by an hour to increase opportunities for activities, making friendships and to include a healthy lunch for worm of all ages and ethnicities who suffer from mental health problems. 


ActivLives - would carry out three Lets Dance programmes to bring people together through music and dance, to support and build confidence, to enable people to learn new skills, gain new interests and keep older people active and connected.

Capel Parish Nurses - The group initially raised £11,000 to help them set up and carry out necessary training, DBS checks etc., the parish nurse has been offering her services voluntarily whilst they have been establishing themselves but they would now like to be able to offer a contract so they can keep the Nurse employed. 

Foxhall Centre Lavender - By allowing the centre to open on a Monday they will be able to support more local people and to introduce the theme of a Musical Monday, with a hot lunch and support services but to include sessions by local musicians. 

Halesworth Volunteer Centre - "Lets Get Together" is targeted at people who live alone but like to get out and about and take part in local groups and events. The centre wants to ensure that people are not excluded from the many local events and groups that take place. 

Headway Suffolk - By setting up a befriending help line between volunteers and family carers, this would be a mentoring and support line facilitated by trained staff.

Rural Coffee Caravan Information Project - Towards a creative project enhancing communication with those who are isolated, enabling them to keep in contact with friends and family that they have been apart from. 

Suffolk Family Carers - To set up a Talk and Support telephone befriending service for young adult carers.

Suffolk Young People's Health Project - Towards Ask the 4YP Expert - an online service to help young people overcome social and geographical isolation and support improving their mental health and well-being.

Walton Parish Nursing - To provide Walton with a Parish and Mental Health Nurse to support residents to remain independent and to carry out a "check" on them so they can be signposted/introduced to other services as deemed necessary.

Warden's Charitable Trust - For the transportation costs of Singing The Brain - movement and music sessions for older people living and their carers, offering 20 sessions of movement and music for people with dementia and their carers. 


Beacon House Ministries - To support the Welcome Services for the socially isolated homeless in Colchester.

Colchester Gateway Clubs - To increase the hours of a Support and Advocacy Manager for adults with learning disabilities.

Crossroads Care Tendring & Colchester - To help meet the cost of running a young carers group In Tendring.

Jaywick Community Resources Centre Association - To support the costs of an elderly people's lunch club.

Teen Talk (Harwich) - To support a 'This Is ME' youth project. The ‘This is ME’ project will work with identified groups of 4-6 young people at a time providing a programme to address such issues and then move into a self-help approach, linking this into their volunteer / young people led programme and socialising opportunities.

Tendring Community Transport - Towards the running of a dial-a-ride service.

Find out more

For more information on our Loneliness Fund click on the link below

Goodgym is just one of the causes that has benefitted

GoodGym is a community of runners who get fit by doing good. Each week, members run to support people in their local area, completing physical tasks for community organisations or helping isolated older people with tasks around the home.

From sorting clothes donations to preparing stacks of sandwiches for the homeless, or helping clear overgrown planters in a volunteer-led community garden to create extra space for food growing. Roll up your sleeves and get stuck into a task that will make a difference to people who live in your area.

GoodGym are inviting East of England Co-op members to join them on a free run to do good in Norwich, Ipswich and Colchester.

Whether you run regularly or you haven't run before, everyone is welcome to join a GoodGym run. If you can jog for 15 minutes without stopping then you're fit enough to join them on a group run - no one ever gets left behind.

Many GoodGym runners can also choose to be paired with isolated older people and run to see them each week for a social visit. Over a million older people are lonely in the UK. Janet used to get out and about quite a lot but now in older age, she's in a wheelchair and isn't able to. It's made her very isolated. But since she’s been visited regularly by a GoodGym runner called Emily, she’s feeling happier and more connected – she’s an active part of her community again.

Every time you head out on a run, you’ll pass by the home of someone like Janet. Whether you have just five minutes to change a smoke alarm battery or 30 minutes for a chat while you’re out on your run – you can make a difference.