FUNDING of £5.5 million, raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, will be committed to projects across Britain next year to tackle loneliness.

Good causes already supported by People’s Postcode Lottery were invited to apply for funding which will benefit people of all ages and backgrounds who are suffering from social exclusion or isolation.

Thirty-two charities have successfully been allocated a share of the £5.5 million awards, which will support an array of community initiatives in 2019 to bring people together.

Minister for Loneliness Mims Davies MP has welcomed the fund:

“This funding will make a real difference to the lives of people, families and their communities across Britain.

“Thank you to People’s Postcode Lottery players for helping these 32 excellent charities and for joining us in the fight against loneliness.”

Grandparents Plus champions the vital role of grandparents who raise children in difficult family situations. It will receive an extra award of £200,000 in 2019 from Postcode Support Trust to expand its national kinship carer network, training volunteers to provide advice and support groups for carers.

Dr Lucy Peake, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus, said:

“Loneliness is a huge problem among the grandparents we support, who’ve put their lives on hold to raise their grandchildren, often losing their social networks in the process. Having someone to turn to, who understands what they are going through and how to help, is so important, and can be the difference between surviving and living.

“The support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery in 2019 will help us connect carers through our national network, making sure they have the expert advice they need. We’re so grateful for this funding and thanks to players, grandparents and other relatives raising a child won’t have to feel alone.”

The Silver Line launched five years ago and had received £1,050,000 to date from Postcode Support Trust to provide a free, confidential, 24-hour helpline for lonely and vulnerable older people. The Blackpool-based organisation, which operates across the country, will receive an extra award of £200,000 in 2019.

Sophie Andrews, Chief Executive of The Silver Line, said:

“Loneliness amongst older people is one of the great tragedies of our time. The demand for The Silver Line grows year on year and shows the power that a conversation and a human connection can make to someone on their own, especially at Christmas.

“We are hugely grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their support of our 24/7 helpline. Three-quarters of our calls are received when other services are closed, so they really are providing a lifeline for those who call us because they have no-one else to speak to.”

Another award recipient is Lord’s Taverners, which plans to boost its cricket programme for disabled young people with a £200,000 extra award. The charity says 77% of young people with disabilities would describe themselves as lonely on a given day.

Battersea will use its extra award of £200,000 to provide more opportunities for people, who cannot give a pet a permanent home, to interact with animals, as research shows this can dramatically reduce feelings of loneliness.

People’s Postcode Lottery Managing Director, Clara Govier, said:

“This funding will help many incredible charities to bring together people suffering from loneliness to build meaningful connections face-to-face, and we’re pleased our players can support this £5.5 million drive to tackle social isolation.

“Loneliness can affect people of all ages, whether you’re young or retired. But if we could all reach out to the people around us, whether we volunteer our time with a charity or make a point of stopping to chat to our neighbours, colleagues or relatives, then we could help just one person feel less alone.”