New political group aims to tackle loneliness

Undated Handout Photo of crochet tea cosy, taken from Granny Chic by Tif Fussell and Rachelle Blondel. See PA Feature INTERIORS Granny Chic. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Catherine Gratwicke. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature INTERIORS Granny Chic. ENGSUS00320130115135536
Undated Handout Photo of crochet tea cosy, taken from Granny Chic by Tif Fussell and Rachelle Blondel. See PA Feature INTERIORS Granny Chic. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Catherine Gratwicke. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature INTERIORS Granny Chic. ENGSUS00320130115135536
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A cross party reference group that will, as one of its priorities, look at outcomes of helping people to help themselves is to be formed.

The group aims to tackle loneliness and was approved at a recent meeting of East Sussex County Council.

The idea was put forward by Liberal Democrat county councillor John Ungar who said, “I brought this motion because I want this to be pushed up the council’s agenda to a point where real work can have a real effect on something that is crippling many people here in East Sussex.

“It is known that feeling isolated can disrupt sleep, raise blood pressure, weaken immunity, increase depression and lower subjective well-being.

“Doctors have quantified the effects of loneliness, warning that lonely people are nearly twice as likely to die prematurely as those who do not suffer feelings of isolation.

“I believe being lonely is a lot more worrying for your health than obesity. We are told 13 per cent of the older population and 12 per cent of young people reported feeling lonely. It is important the council looks to address this issue. In tackling loneliness the first step must be for the council to look at itself to see if any of its policies are compounding the problem.

“At the same time we need to be talking with partners and looking at how together we can work to address and mitigate the impact of loneliness in our communities across East Sussex. Many of our partners are already carrying out good work to address the issue of loneliness. Their work is to be welcomed and the council, where it can, should support this work. We should join with them to further address and tackle loneliness to mitigate its devastating effects.”