Funding for transport projects to help tackle loneliness in the South East

Funding has today (23 May) been awarded to 12 organisations across England with the aim of understanding how transport can play a role in helping people who are feeling lonely.

Pilot projects receiving a share of the £5 million funding include support for older people using public transport after the pandemic, autism awareness training for staff across the transport network and a group electric cycling scheme.

Millions of people across the nation are struggling with feelings of loneliness, which were exacerbated by the pandemic. The Government is committed to tackling loneliness, including through building the evidence base for what can alleviate this problem. Findings from the pilots will be used to inform how future transport schemes can contribute to reducing loneliness in communities.

Minister Baroness Vere said:

“Loneliness affects millions of people across the UK. Transport can help us solve this problem by connecting us to people, places, and experiences.

“Congratulations to the organisations that secured funding for their proposals. This is a great opportunity to improve future transport schemes and shape the national conversation on loneliness.

“We will continue to work closely with transport providers and community groups to build an inclusive and accessible transport network.”

Action Hampshire are working with partners to deliver three pilots aimed at reducing loneliness across rural and urban populations in the county. The first is an e-bicycle based shopping delivery service, the second an accessible community transport pilot, and the third will pilot the use of leased electric cars.

Leah Campbell, CEO of Action Hampshire, said:

“This is great news for Hampshire’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector. We know that supporting people’s relationships by keeping them connected and delivering local affordable transport options based in their communities, have a huge impact on preventing loneliness and maintaining independence in later life.

“As communities, we can take action to help remove some of the obstacles people may face in creating and sustaining connections. As a sector, VCSE organisations often offer a more personalised response: rather than someone simply being a ‘service user’, they are more likely to be seen holistically – and we hope these pilots will help demonstrate that.”