Agenda item

Loneliness Action Plan

Ruth Fletcher-Brown, Public Health Specialist, to present an update on the loneliness action plan


Ruth Fletcher-Brown, Public Health Specialist, presented an update on the loneliness action plan with the aid of the following powerpoint presentation:-


National Picture – Office of National Statistics, public opinions and social trends Great Britain 27th April-8th May, 2022

¾     Around 1 in 20 (6%) of adults reported feeling lonely always or often in the latest period (5% in the previous period)

¾     This increased to around a quarter of adults (25%) reporting feeling lonely always, often or some of the time in the latest period (23% in the previous period)

¾     This proportion appeared to vary slightly by age with 26% of those aged 16-29 years, 30% of those aged 30-49 years, 23% of those aged 50-69 years and 19% of those aged 70 years and above, reporting feeling lonely always, often or some of the time in the latest period


Rotherham Picture

¾     19.01% of adults felt lonely often or always or some of the time (2019-2020 OHID Fingertips)

¾     4.8% of Rotherham residents had a poor life satisfaction score (5.0% for England) according to the annual population survey, 2021/22 (lower value was better)

¾     7.2% of Rotherham residents had a poor happiness score (8.4% for England) according to the annual population survey 2021/22 (lower value was better)

¾     The estimated prevalence of common mental health disorders for Rotherham was 18.6%, this was higher than that for Yorkshire and the Humber and England (2017)

¾     Social isolation and loneliness was experienced by individuals/communities during the pandemic and for some individuals increasing anxiety was now about being around people (DPH Annual Report 2023)

¾     In the 2022 School Lifestyle survey, 29% of students who identified themselves as a young carer felt the caring role stopped them seeing their friends

¾     The Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF) based on the Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers showed only 30.2% of adult carers had as much social contact as they would like


Partnership Working

¾     The loneliness action plan was delivered by partners of the Health and Wellbeing Board.  Implementation was overseen by the Better Mental Health Group:

Children, Young People and Families Consortium


Healthwatch Rotherham

NHS South Yorkshire

RDaSH (mental health provider)

Rotherham NHS Foundation Hospital Trust

RMBC – Adult Care, Housing and Public Health (including Neighbourhoods)

RMBC Children and Young People’s Services

RMBC Communications

RMBC Culture, Sport and Tourism Service, Regeneration and Environment


Rotherham Federation

Rotherham United Community Sports Trust (RUCST)

South Yorkshire Police


Rotherham Loneliness Action Plan

¾     Aim 1 – to make loneliness everyone’s responsibility

¾     Aim 2 – improving how organisations and services in Rotherham connected people at risk of experiencing loneliness to support

¾     Aim 3 – make it easier for people living and working in Rotherham to access information about local community groups, activities and support services for loneliness

¾     Aim 4 – spread good practice and encourage knowledge sharing on tackling loneliness across Rotherham


What’s working well – Rotherham

¾     Open Arms Community Support Hubs in areas of deprivation (sites in libraries and community centres)

¾     Library cafes e.g. Menopause Cafes

¾     New welcome pack being trialled with Adult Care staff

¾     Links between loneliness, poor mental health and suicide – explored within training for Place staff using case studies

¾     Children’s Capital of Culture – Year 1 engagement plan complete

¾     Rotherham was the highest investor in South Yorkshire for social prescribing

¾     Community assets – mapping of services/organisations/groups which were available to support Rotherham residents

¾     Refreshed Ward priorities published in June 2023

¾     Place-based working – mapping of assets taking place as part of the Early Intervention and Prevention work in the north locality

¾     Age UK participated in national pilot for MECC and loneliness

¾     Smiles for Miles project (Children, Young People and Families Consortium Project) had supported 1800+ young people

¾     Crossroads funding bid was successful in supporting carers which included therapy in people’s homes

¾     3 sessions within Rotherham libraries for gentle exercise linked to the Women’s Euro 22 Legacy

¾     The Rotherham 10K took place in May raising awareness and funds for Age UK Rotherham


What are we worried about

¾     Reduced funding for Befriending projects.  The Befriending project ran for less than one year but evidenced significant improvements in mental wellbeing

¾     Recruitment and retention of volunteers

¾     Reporting from frontline services about the number of clients presenting who were lonely and isolated

¾     Reported levels of anxiety, physical and mental deconditioning of some groups

¾     Cost of living – communities raising concerns about cost of transport

¾     Public transport – influencing decisions about transport at a South Yorkshire level and the impact it could have on addressing loneliness

¾     Tackling loneliness was a collective responsibility not just the remit of the voluntary and community sector


What needs to happen next and when

¾     Making Every Contact Count – these sessions would also be offered to partner organisations (October 2023)

¾     Community engagement with some inclusion groups (from September/October 2023)

¾     Strengths-based approaches – e-learning for Council staff to be launched in September 2023.  This would include identification and building on local assets

¾     Launch of the community asset mapping.  This was currently being tested by Link Workers and would then be available on the Rotherham Health Data Hub (September 2023)

¾     Connectedness considered in planning and commissioning processes.  Guidance steps produced (September 2023)

¾     Opportunities within Town Centre planning – safe and inclusive spaces

¾     Exploring opportunities to use the DHSC Suicide Prevention Fund for voluntary and community sector to address loneliness (September 2023)


Discussion ensued with the following issues raised/clarified:-


·        Children’s Capital of Culture – Year 1 Engagement Programme completed.  The Manifesto for Year 2 and 3 Design and Development phase was launched in January 2023 and to date the programme had attracted in excess of £3M in revenue investment and had supported 75 young people, employed part-time, as trainee creative producers, 14 of which were care experienced

·        Different presentation of loneliness in different groups of ethnicity – some of the focus groups would look at vulnerable groups.  The Better Mental Health Befriending Project had targeted those communities and had been successful.  Some of the challenges would be around crime/hate crime and feeling safe in their community

·        The Project had used the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing scale.  There had been 835 people on the scheme in the beginning and had ran from September until the end of April at which point 815 remained.  It was held up as good practice.  Going forward other measures had been explored and felt that it was still the best fit


Ruth was thanked for her presentation.

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