Care providers say the Government should support existing services to help tackle loneliness as well as introduce new measures.
As the Prime Minister launched the first government loneliness strategy, The Independent Care Group called for more to be done to support services that are already available but under-funded.
The new strategy allows GPs to refer people to take part in social activities like clubs and art groups. An extra £1.8m was also announced for community projects like cafes, art spaces and gardens.
The independent Care Group’s Chair, Mike Padgham, said: “We fully support what the Government has announced in terms of providing extra support to combat loneliness and hope it helps tackle the isolation that can be so detrimental to quality of life.
“At the same time, we do believe that more could be done to support established services, like day care centres, which do an amazing job at helping people overcome loneliness and make new friends, but which are chronically under-funded. Other care services too, like homecare, play a huge part in helping people stay in their own communities and yet these too are under-funded, to the point where providers are handing back contracts because they are no longer viable to deliver.
“There is much to applaud in the Government’s new loneliness strategy, but it does always insist on trying to reinvent the wheel, when existing services that are already functioning very well and could do so much more, are left under-resourced and struggling.”
The Independent Care Group is calling for the long-awaited Green Paper on social care to provide a proper solution to the long-term funding of the sector to tackle the current scandal of 1.4m older and vulnerable adults living without the care they need.