Thank you for your email regarding Age UK’s campaign to combat loneliness amongst the older generation.
I believe that we all have a responsibility at an individual, family, and community level to identify people with care needs such as loneliness, and provide support to improve their health and wellbeing.
During my Fridays and Saturdays in the constituency, I make time to visit community groups and organisations to find out what they do and to assist where possible. Over the last few weeks, I have visited a number of community projects that exist to combat the very issue of loneliness; from Memory Café’s, coffee mornings and outdoor community projects. Such initiatives seek to bring people of all ages and abilities together to benefit the community. I love meeting with these groups and hearing about the good work that continues to go on in the constituency. If you know of any other organisations that serve for this purpose, please do let me know so that I can visit and work with them, should I be re-elected.
Furthermore, local commissioners are responsible for ensuring that health services match the needs of the population. Since 2012, local authorities have been expected to identify areas where older people suffer most acutely from loneliness to allow them to tackle the growing problem of social isolation and its harmful effects.
The Department of Health has also supported the development of a ‘digital toolkit’ for local commissioners, developed by the Campaign to End Loneliness, to support them in understanding and commissioning services to tackle loneliness and social isolation in their communities.
Thank you once again for contacting me, please do not hesitate to get in contact with me if you require any further information.
Derek Thomas MP
For St Ives, West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.