Using Digital to Tackle Loneliness Amid COVID-19

Charities are increasingly turning to digital technology to reduce loneliness among vulnerable and hard to reach communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help them pivot services online as they seek to reduce isolation, charities are being invited to apply for £5m in government funding. The Loneliness COVID-19 Fund application form and guidance was published on May 13.

Charities have until 12pm Friday May 29 to apply. Grants of between £500,000 and £1m are to be made available and umbrella organisations are also being urged to apply so that they can distribute funding to local, small charities.

The funding is for services that are able to reach people in ‘cold spots’ where charities are not currently able to fully socially connect communities. It can be used to continue, adapt or expand existing provision as well, to ensure services are reaching groups at greatest risk of loneliness as a result of the outbreak.

The guidance for the fund states that the money could be for services “adapting to allow digital delivery”. It adds that “equipping older people to use digital services” is another benefit of the fund. Expanding helpline support and volunteer capacity are also cited.

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