A new strategy is being launched to tackle loneliness this Christmas.

The ‘tackling loneliness’ strategy aims to raise awareness of loneliness and helps to tackle its stigma.

It also intends to continue the conversation of loneliness and understand the importance of social connections.

Executive Assistant to the leader of the Council and Bromley’s loneliness champion, Aisha Cuthbert says loneliness can affect “anyone” and it “does not discriminate”.

She explained: “Loneliness can affect anyone at any time in their life - it does not discriminate.

“Very sadly, the effects of loneliness can have significant long-lasting negative effects on people's health and wellbeing.

“There is no quick fix to tackling loneliness entirely, but our strategy seeks to address the many causes and work in partnership with the voluntary, charity and private sectors across Bromley to help minimise loneliness in our borough.

“I am very proud to champion this strategy through multi-agency work to help spot people who might be lonely or socially isolated and who would benefit from some support.

“We know that Christmas can be a particularly difficult time of year for people experiencing loneliness and I want to encourage all our residents to get in touch with friends, family and neighbours who they think may be lonely this holiday season.

“We want to make sure that Bromley is a borough where families, friends and communities support each other, especially at vulnerable points in life when people are at greater risk of loneliness.

“We want a culture in our borough where loneliness is recognised and acted on without stigma or shame, so that we all look out for one another.”

There are three main priorities within the tackling loneliness strategy, which were reported to be identified over last summer, through wide-ranging workshops with partner organisations.

These cover projects such as bringing together information and finding community champions that will support people to be more connected within a culture.

The strategy has been co-produced by the council and its partners - with a focus on preventing people from feeling lonely.

This builds on the work that has been underway since the council’s commitment in 2019 to address loneliness.

Tackling loneliness intends to shine a light on what achievements have been made since the first meeting on the subject nearly three years ago.

Council Leader, Colin Smith said: “I wholeheartedly supported the initial summit to enable work with partners to identify the issues and see what could be done to alleviate some of the devastating problems caused by isolation and loneliness.

“I am absolutely delighted with the outstanding work being carried out by all concerned under what remain uniquely challenging circumstances and thank Councillor Cuthbert in particular for her tireless determination and leadership in pushing the programme forward.

“We all look forward now in keen anticipation to future developments and the delivery of this strategy.”