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DCMS launches fund to tackle loneliness with technology



Government sets up the Building Connections Fund with technology remit as part of £20 million initiative to prevent social isolation

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has released £11 million to encourage charities and community groups to use technology to combat isolation and loneliness in communities.

Groups can apply to The Building Connections Fund from next month, to pay for projects that use technology to link people at risk of or suffering from loneliness, such as those living in remote areas. 

"It will go to fund projects that look to better connect people. On the technology front it could be a scheme that brings younger people together with the elderly to teach them how to use Skype or an app that connects new mums in the community," a DCMS spokesperson told UKAuthority. 

The fund is aimed at making better use of local communal spaces, helping businesses and local services find ways to alleviate isolation, and improving transport connections to make it easier for people to meet in person. Some funding will be used to understand the the work of charities and community groups and share what they have learned about the prevention of loneliness.

It is part of a £20 million pot to support and expand programmes that bring people together based on a collaboration between government, the Jo Cox Foundation, the Co-op Foundation, The Health Lottery and the People’s Postcode Lottery.

The Co-op Foundation's contribution will go directly towards tackling loneliness among young people.

Prime Minister Theresa May, said in a statement: “Feeling lonely or isolated can have a profound and devastating impact on people’s lives – it can affect anyone of any age and from any background. But just as loneliness can affect any of us, so any of us can help to overcome it.”

The work will be led by Tracey Crouch, ministerial lead on loneliness, appointed following the report of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness.

Grants will be available until December 2020.

Image: GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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