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Today the Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced the Building Connections Fund, an £11 million partnership to tackle loneliness and connect communities in England. £2 million of this fund will be delivered by our charity, Co-op Foundation, supporting young people across the country.
The funding and how it will be spent
One of the main recommendations of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, which Co-op supported, was to tackle loneliness across all ages.
Community causes that bring people together will be able to apply for funding from July 2018, with grants available until the end of March 2021.
The Building Connections Fund includes £5 million from the government as well as:
- £5 million from Big Lottery Fund, matching the government’s investment
- £1 million from the Co-op Foundation, matching the government’s investment in tackling youth loneliness specifically
Co-op Members voted to tackle loneliness with British Red Cross and together our Co-op Members and colleagues have raised £6.7 million.
We know through our research that loneliness is not the preserve of the elderly, it can affect people at different life stages. More recently, the Co-op Foundation has brought attention to the widespread, but a long-overlooked issue of youth loneliness.
As Chair of the Co-op Group Board, I’ve been a passionate supporter of the Co-op Foundation’s work to empower young people and strengthen communities. Thousands of other Co-op Members have also shown their support for the Foundation’s Belong programme through the Local Community Fund. I’m delighted that the Government has recognised this ground-breaking work, and is now committing additional funding to this important cause.
Chair of Co-op Group Board and Co-op Foundation donor