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New report highlights what can be done to help tackle social isolation and loneliness in Gloucestershire

Written by on 20th September 2021

A new report from Healthwatch Gloucestershire presents local people’s experiences of social isolation and loneliness, and highlights initiatives that could be used to provide greater support for people living in Gloucestershire.

Widespread research highlights the detrimental effect of loneliness on people’s health, and Gloucestershire’s Health and Wellbeing Board has identified social isolation as an area that needs attention. Healthwatch Gloucestershire’s previous research has highlighted the impact of social isolation on people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, local health and social care champion, Healthwatch Gloucestershire, decided to find out more about loneliness and social isolation by asking local people about their experiences, and investigating what makes a difference and what could be done to help.

They heard from over 50 people via a survey and focus group (March-April 2021). They also spoke to organisations from across the country that are working to tackle loneliness and social isolation through voluntary and community services and the wider health and care system.

Watch the video to see what people told Healthwatch Gloucestershire:

Key findings from the public survey

  • Most people said they were lonely almost all the time, frequently or sometimes.
  • Key factors of loneliness identified were the COVID-19 pandemic; being single, widowed or divorced; and/or having a long-term health condition.
  • Most people said there are no opportunities to meet new people in their local area, though many were aware of groups that did offer the chance to connect with others. Some people highlighted issues around attending these groups including accessibility, poor transport, and a lack of groups outside of working hours.
  • Many people reported that they were dissatisfied with their current relationships, and some said they have no friends in Gloucestershire (but they have friends elsewhere).
  • Many people commented that they would find it difficult to ask for help, with some saying they would feel uncomfortable or embarrassed to do so.
  • Some people identified other problems such as financial difficulties.

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