Charities and community groups are to receive support to help lonely and isolated people from a new £20m fund that will build on the legacy of murdered Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox.
The Government has pledged a quarter of the cash, £11m of which will form the Building Connections Fund, which will help groups to make the most of local spaces, opening them up for community use and help to combat isolation.
It will also fund projects that use technology to link those in remote areas and help improve transport connections to make face-to-face contact easier. Further funding will support and expand existing programmes that are already proving to bring people together.
The fund is part of a pledge by Theresa May in January to accept the recommendations of the year-long Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, which included the appointment of the country’s first ever Minister for Loneliness, Tracey Crouch.
On the £20m announcement, she said: “This funding enables us to build on Jo Cox’s legacy and provides support to charities across the country that are fighting against loneliness. It will help improve the lives of people and build a shared society for the future.”
Mrs Cox’s sister, Kim Leadbeater, on behalf of the Jo Cox Foundation said: “Tackling loneliness was an issue dear to Jo’s heart. She would be so proud to see how much progress has been made in recognising the importance of building stronger and better connected communities to help reduce the terrible damage done by loneliness.”
Mrs May said the funding would “make a big difference, helping more people to establish and maintain connections.
“This is just part of Jo Cox’s legacy, and I am determined we continue to take this forward. That’s why we need to do all we can to tackle loneliness, and our forthcoming strategy will build on today’s funding.”