Step Up To Serve hands £1m to anti-loneliness project

By Joe Lepper

| 18 May 2017

A charity established by government to encourage social action among young people is to plough £1m into projects to combat loneliness.

The Co-op Foundation has previously run a social action initiative in Bristol to combat loneliness. Picture: Co-op Foundation

The Co-op Foundation, a charity set up by the Co-op, has been awarded the money from Step Up To Serve's #iwill Fund to pay for a network of projects that inspire young people to take practical action to tackle loneliness.

The Co-op Foundation has agreed to contribute an additional £1m - making a combined pot of £2m.

"Young people are incredibly community-minded, and the majority want to get more involved in local life," said Jim Cooke, Co-op Foundation manager.

"But particularly in less affluent parts of the country, there aren't enough high-quality youth social action opportunities available." 

"This funding will build a new generation of involved and active citizens. It will also tackle loneliness, by helping young people form stronger connections and develop valuable life skills."

The Co-op Foundation has been involved in social action projects for the last eight years, including its Community Apprentice programme, where young people design a project around a local social issue, including pitching for funding.

The foundation cites a recent Community Apprentice initiative in Bristol, which sought to reduce loneliness faced by refugees, as an example of the type of social action it wants to see created through this latest fund.

This initiative involved young people researching free activity opportunities for refugees and getting local businesses and charities to produce and distribute an information leaflet.

Last December youth minister Rob Wilson revealed he wanted more young people to volunteer on a full-time basis. He made the comments as he announced an independent review into young people's involvement in social action projects.

The £2m fund is open to applications from June 12.

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