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First of its kind fund launched to tackle loneliness

The first of its kind fund will go towards helping local groups and community-based projects.

Image: Shutterstock/Dmitry Kalinovsky

A €3 MILLION fund is to be launched to help combat loneliness in the community.

The first of its kind fund will go towards helping local groups and community-based projects, with applications for funding being accepted for between €5,000 and €100,000.

Minister of State for Mental Health Jim Daly secured the funding, which is separate from the HSE’s mental health budget.

Fianna Fáil Senator Keith Swanick, who has campaigned for a dedicated Minister for Loneliness at Cabinet, said he welcomed the funding allocation. 

Writing for TheJournal.ie recently, the senator said that in his primary role as a rural GP, he sees the profound physical and mental health problems that are exacerbated by loneliness.

He said Ireland should have a minister with responsibility for loneliness, stating that UK Prime Minister Theresa May appointed Tracey Crouch as Minister for Loneliness, borne out of the legacy of the late Jo Cox MP. Prior to her murder in 2016 by a far-right extremist, Jo Cox had campaigned for the establishment of a Commission on Loneliness.

“This morning’s announcement is very welcome for all of us involved in the Loneliness Taskforce and thousands of older people living alone. I had met with Minister Daly in the build up to today’s announcement to discuss how best we can tackle this problem.

“Our report called for a dedicated fund of €3 million to be established. Now this new fund will be in place for groups applying for funding in their efforts to combat loneliness,” said Senator Swanick.

He urged young professionals and students to draw down funding for their befriending groups and similar initiatives.

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