29 July 2021

100K to tackle loneliness for Scotland

Press release

29 July 2021

For further information: press@redcross.org.uk.

£100,000 to tackle isolation and loneliness awarded to the British Red Cross

As part of the plan to build Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic, the British Red Cross has been awarded £100,000 from the Scottish Government to tackle isolation and loneliness.

Marie Hayes, Scotland Director for Independent Living and Crisis Response at the British Red Cross, welcomed the funding and said the charity will “help people most in need to reconnect.”

The funding comes as data from the Scottish Government’s most recent Covid wellbeing survey found over half (56%) reported feeling cut off from friends and family in March this year.

The funding for the British Red Cross will help the charity to provide support to people most in need to reconnect. This includes a preventative approach, such as helping people link up with groups, clubs and activities. 

Marie Hayes, Scotland Director for Independent Living and Crisis Response at the British Red Cross, said

"During the pandemic, just under half of us reported feeling lonely. As we recover and restrictions lift, there is a risk loneliness and isolation won’t go away for many but instead become more entrenched.

"The British Red Cross warmly welcomes this new support from the Scottish Government.

"We can now build on our expertise to help people most in need to reconnect - people on low incomes or who live alone, people with disabilities and those suffering from poor mental health.

"Our services will help people navigate befriending services, access online support and activities and provide practical help to overcome barriers to wellbeing."


Notes to editors:

The Scottish Government release can be found at https://www.gov.scot/news


During the last 18 months, the British Red Cross have produced a number of key research reports, such as:

These show a lack of meaningful contact, reduction of informal and formal supports and increased anxiety have all contributed to heightened levels of loneliness. People who have been shielding, have long-standing physical and mental health conditions, are digitally excluded or live alone as well as those living with young children are particularly at risk. The biggest impact of living under local restrictions is on people’s mental health with the most common triggers being isolation and feelings of loneliness. People are not confident about accessing support or talking about their problems. 

In Scotland, polling commissioned by the Red Cross found that 32 percent reported they would not be confident that they would know where to go for mental health or emotional support if needed; 45 percent agreed that it was hard to talk about their problems. Those living alone, those who were clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable, and those caring for others felt particularly isolated and despondent. 

Red Cross service:

The service will combine our current operational work with vulnerable people, our national support line and existing referral mechanisms to provide targeted telephone and in-person support to groups most at risk of loneliness and isolation.

The focus will be a preventative approach: tackling individual problems before they reach crisis point, developing practical, sustainable solutions, linking people into local community resources, identifying gaps and meeting needs, utilising a tiered model this will be tailored to available funding:

Initial telephone chat: Immediate one-off intervention for people experiencing loneliness and isolation
Recurring telephone contact: Telephone chat, advice and signposting, links to virtual groups and activities and direct provision such as small group events. provision of activity and information packs.
Short-term tasks: Accompanying person to a medical appointment or activity; support with completing paperwork; outreach visit necessary because of additional communication needs; one-off transport requests (including using BRC vehicles); action necessary to set up ongoing support
More in-depth assistance: Combination of telephone and outreach support and case work where specialist knowledge and experience is required. Tasks may include income maximisation, helping people to access benefits and energy advice they are entitled to. 

This work would include targeting support to:

People experiencing changes in circumstances such as becoming a new mum or retirement, or after bereavement, separation, or family moving away
People with a form of underlying mental health issue(s) which in turn have a negative impact on socialising and the person becoming withdrawn and detached from family and peers
People experiencing disadvantage and inequality in many forms, including mental health difficulties and addiction and substance misuse issues, and associated stigma around these
People who are facing marginalisation, stigmatisation, and even persecution, including refugees and asylum seekers through our refugee services based in Glasgow

Scottish Government Data:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact on wellbeing: wave 3 - survey summary, published 9 June 2021, can be found here.

About the Red Cross and pandemic support:

The British Red Cross has reached more than 1.5million people since the start of the pandemic. Our volunteers and staff have delivered food and medicine to people’s doorsteps, got patients home from hospital and been there for people at their loneliest moments on our Coronavirus Support Line. Our online advice and information has been there for everyone, whether you’re an individual struggling with loneliness or a healthcare worker or volunteer who needs help to protect your own mental health as you help others.  

For over 150 years, the British Red Cross has helped people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them recover and move on with their lives. www.redcross.org.uk





100K to tackle loneliness Scotland