Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for Children, Older People and Social Care
Today, I am pleased to announce the publication of a consultation on addressing loneliness and social isolation in Wales.
Loneliness and social isolation are growing problems not just here in Wales but across the UK and beyond. And more of us now understand they can affect anyone, at any age, for a wide variety of reasons. They can, and do, have a significant impact on people’s physical and mental health.
As a government, we are committed to securing the best possible health, well-being and quality of life for all people in Wales. Preventing people from becoming lonely and socially isolated must be a national priority for us, because it will not only improve people’s lives, but it will also help reduce demand for health and social services in the future.
The Welsh Government’s Programme for Government, Taking Wales Forward 2016-2021 therefore included a commitment to develop a nationwide and cross-government strategy to address these issues. This consultation document represents the first step in delivering on that commitment. It sets out our vision of the Wales we want to see, linked to the Welsh Government’s legislative and strategic frameworks; it highlights what the evidence tells us and what we have heard through engagement with stakeholders so far; it highlights some of the work that the Welsh Government has done and is continuing to do to tackle loneliness and social isolation, and sets out a suggested approach for the future.
I am clear, that neither the Welsh Government nor one agency on its own can combat these issues. The only way to address the wide-ranging and deep-rooted impacts of loneliness and social isolation is to bring together all agencies to address the causes and the wider harmful impacts for the individual and for communities. As a government we need to be able to foster the right environment and create the right conditions for others to design and deliver solutions that best meet their needs.
I want to hear from people living in all parts of Wales and would be grateful if you could promote this consultation within the communities that you serve. I know you are as keen as I am to ensure our communities and the social fabric that binds them together, are as resilient as they can be.
The consultation is available at: https://beta.gov.wales/connected-communities-tackling-loneliness-and-social-isolation and will close on 15 January 2019