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Our work
Our work

Coordinating national action on loneliness

We worked with the British Red Cross and Co-op partnership to consult on, research, draft, and share two major reports on tackling loneliness, and supported the Loneliness Action Group to deliver its quarterly meetings.

The challenge

The British Red Cross and Co-op have been working in a charity partnership since 2015 to tackle loneliness and social isolation in the UK. Our work with them covered three areas:

Shared learning programme
The partnership has almost 40 Community Connector services across the UK to reconnect people who are experiencing loneliness back to their communities. To share insight and learn from others, the partnership wanted to bring together Community Connectors, and those working in similar services.

Social prescribing
A cornerstone of the government’s loneliness strategy was the roll-out of social prescribing schemes across England. The British Red Cross and Co-op wanted to identify the key features of social prescribing that  effectively tackle loneliness and make recommendations on how to achieve them.

Loneliness Action Group
The Loneliness Action Group, led by the partnership, brings together government, charities, businesses and public sector leaders working nationally on loneliness to develop solutions and secure meaningful commitments from decision makers across the UK. The group needed  support to maximise engagement and strategic direction from its quarterly meetings.

Our approach

Shared learning programme
We created a programme of learning events (both face-to-face and digital), our approach focusing on interaction between participants, sharing what was working (or not) in their service.

Alongside the events, Kaleidoscope also:

  • carried out research into the issue of loneliness and social isolation, and the connector schemes working across the UK that tackle it
  • drafted the report that shared the learnings from the programme
  • created a launch event to encourage further feedback on the report and enhance dissemination
  • engaged with other organisations with an interest in shared learning from schemes working to tackle loneliness.

Social prescribing
We conducted in-depth visits to  Community Connectors, multiple phone interviews with key stakeholders, and hosted a webinar and workshop with professionals working in service provision, commissioning, primary care, policy and research, and people with personal experience of loneliness.

Loneliness action group
Our experience is that getting the most value from events like the Loneliness Action Group’s quarterly meetings depends on having conversations ahead of time, so carried out phone interviews with key participants, and then a short survey with all participants. The results of these were written up and woven into materials used at the  meeting.

Kaleidoscope have been instrumental in helping the British Red Cross and Co-op Partnership drive forward the tackling loneliness agenda. Time and again, they have helped us convene voluntary, private and public sector organisations and delivered dynamic – and useful – events.

Olivia Field, Policy and Engagement Manager (Loneliness and Social Isolation), British Red Cross

Results

Shared learning programme
We brought together more than 50 ‘connector’ schemes across four learning events. Our learning events enabled detailed conversations between service providers, and provided an opportunity to share and reflect on the challenges facing services. The subsequent report then identified challenges requiring wider action and made recommendations for commissioners, funders and government bodies.

Social prescribing
Our report drew on our practical experience of delivering social prescribing services to those experiencing or at risk of loneliness through British Red Community Connector schemes. For the promise of social prescribing to be fulfilled, action is needed from a number of organisations and professionals to build understanding and responsiveness to loneliness into the models that are emerging across England. In our report we made a series of recommendations for three groups who need to take action to ensure the promise is delivered for those experiencing loneliness. These include national policymakers, local health and care systems, and voluntary and community sector organisations. We outlined ten areas for action, with practical steps that can be taken within each of these areas.

Loneliness Action Group
The Loneliness Action Group continues to run, convening 50 delegates from across public, private and third sector organisations each quarter. They work together to help the loneliness agenda to be progressed and to hold the government to account.

Despite often focussing on complex issues – from securing funding for voluntary and community social prescribing schemes to tackling the stigma attached to loneliness – Kaleidoscope’s workshops have helped us arrive at authentic solutions and a tangible action plan.

Olivia Field, Policy and Engagement Manager (Loneliness and Social Isolation), British Red Cross

 


Our work

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