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Churches tackling loneliness evident from new report
UK News

Churches tackling loneliness evident from new report

Faith Action has released the 'Right up Your Street' report.

64 per cent of the organisations were Christian, with the remainder Muslim, Jewish and others.

The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness found over nine million people say they are always or often lonely.

The Government has appointed a Loneliness Minister, Mims Davies and published a loneliness strategy.

The Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society said the "UK is suffering a loneliness epidemic.

"Loneliness affects people of all ages. It is heart breaking. It is often hidden. But it is also resolvable. And faith groups have a vital part to play.

"They are made up of congregations who meet together regularly. They do so out of obedience to God, but meeting weekly in this way makes falling into loneliness much less likely and they have resources to support non-members too.

"Religious institutions provide very large numbers of people with an opportunity to belong which is all too rare elsewhere.

"Faith groups are deeply rooted in the community, and are in it for the long haul. They address emotional and spiritual needs. They are uniquely well placed to respond to loneliness and social isolation."

One of the authors of the Faith Action report, Rodie Garland told Premier the different ways churches have been tackling loneliness:

"If you're part of a church, it will be things that are very familiar to you. So lots of them do activities, like lunch clubs, or other activities for older people, but also youth clubs and provision for younger people and things like parent and toddler groups, which are really vital in tackling loneliness.

"What we really wanted to do is highlight just how much is happening and that there is a solution to the problem of loneliness in our society."

Rodie said in order for churches to have a bigger impact, she hopes the report will encourage "churches to talk about what they're doing and realise they are part of the bigger picture and actually join up their efforts with other things that are going on. For example, GPs and health services to realise what churches and faith organisations are doing to try and tackle loneliness and refer them on."

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