Summary of report content
Gloucestershire’s Health and Wellbeing Board have identified social isolation as an area that needs attention, so Healthwatch Gloucestershire sought to understand what social isolation and loneliness means for people living in Gloucestershire.
They undertook a public engagement campaign from 22 March to 21 April 2021, including a survey, focus groups and interviews. In total they spoke to 73 people.
Most people said that they were lonely almost all of the time, frequently or sometimes. Healthwatch identified the Covid-19 pandemic, being single, widowed or divorced, and/or having a long-term health condition, as key factors of loneliness.
Most respondents said there aren’t any opportunities to meet new people in their local area, however, many identified that there are already groups that offer the chance to connect with others. Some people highlighted issues in attending these groups including accessibility, poor transport, and a lack of groups outside of working hours.
Some respondents identified problems with their housing providers and inadequate financial support as causes of isolation and/or loneliness.
Many people told us they were dissatisfied with their current relationships, and some told us they have no friends in Gloucestershire (yet have friends elsewhere). Many people expressed that they would find it difficult to ask for help, with some identifying the cause as feeling uncomfortable or embarrassed.
The report looks at initiatives elsewhere in the country to tackle social isolation and loneliness.
The report concludes with 4 recommendations to tackle social isolation.
The report contains responses from providers.