Evidence, resources and guidance on understanding and tackling loneliness.

Defining loneliness

The conceptual review looked at studies published worldwide since 1945 and found 144 qualitative sources conceptualising loneliness across the adult lifecourse (16+).

Evidence review

Tackling loneliness is a ‘review of reviews’  based on a sift of 364 evidence reviews from across the world and the UK on what works to alleviate loneliness. 

Measuring loneliness

We’re launching a simple, short guide to help charities make sense of measuring loneliness. 

We want to hear from you!

It is one year since we published our Guide to measuring loneliness. We are now launching a new survey aimed at better understanding the experiences and issues faced by charities across the UK who are committed to measuring the impact of their activities on loneliness.

Building Connections Fund evaluation

Learn about the evaluation of the £11.5m fund to help projects to reduce or prevent loneliness across the UK.

Loneliness conceptual review

Following the review of reviews on loneliness which identified the confusion in defining loneliness in research, policy and practice communities this conceptual review outlines three types of loneliness experienced by different populations, plus the difference between social isolation, solitude and aloneness, not all of which is negative. 

Read our blog outlining all the findings from the review.

Tackling loneliness: review of reviews

Published in October 2018, this review establishes what we know about loneliness in and effective ways to tackle it. It reveals big gaps in the current evidence base that can be addressed by the national strategy on loneliness. It’s based on a sift of 364 reviews from developed countries across the world, and within the UK.

Measuring loneliness: new guidance

Making sense of loneliness, and supporting meaningful measurement

In October 2018 the UK government announced a strategy to tackle loneliness in England, along with dedicated funding to help communities build stronger connections and alleviate loneliness. At the same time the Office for National Statistics (ONS) worked with a panel of experts to recommend a set of questions to help measure loneliness.

You can now download our new guidance for small charities and social enterprises to support you to use these measures in your evaluations. There is also an editable questionnaire you can start using right away.

You can also read our blog about the guidance for more information.

Building Connections Fund: evaluation and learning

The resources and findings in this section are created and maintained by our partners New Philanthropy Capital.

If you are a Building Connections Fund grant-holder and have any enquiries, please email:  BCFevaluation@thinknpc.org

Understanding the impact and sharing learning to tackle loneliness

How does it work?

The £11.5m Fund which is a partnership between Government, The National Lottery Community Fund and the Co-op Foundation is providing grants to 126 voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations between 2019 and 2021. To evaluate and share learning from the Fund, we are working with New Philanthropy Capital, Centre for Youth Impact, Brunel University LondonBryson Purdon Social Research, and expert David Pritchard. The work will be carried out with groups of all ages and backgrounds across England.

  1. Reducing or preventing loneliness, by enabling projects tackling loneliness to be more effective and evaluate their impact.
  2. Build on our existing knowledge to better understand the most effective approaches to measure, reduce and prevent loneliness. Once complete in 2021, findings from the project will be used to improve the evidence base on loneliness. This will inform longer-term policy and funding decisions.




Are you a grant-holder?

You can find resources to support your work in the tabs below, including our guidance on measuring loneliness. Building Connections grant-holders will also be able to register for upcoming events, sign up for workshops or webinars and receive the latest learning from the programme.

You can also sign up to the Centre’s weekly evidence alerts below to read the latest wellbeing evidence and insight. It’s not just for Fund grant-holders; anyone can subscribe!

Resources for Building Connections Fund grant-holders

Click on the tabs below to download the resources and find out more about them.

10 tips to helps your project reduce loneliness

10 tips to help your project reduce loneliness

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This paper brings together emerging findings from the existing evidence to offer practical help to Building Connections Fund grant holders and other projects working on reducing loneliness.

These tips focus on how services are delivered, rather than what they deliver. The aim is to help you plan and implement projects so that they work more effectively to reduce loneliness.

As many of your activities are already underway, these tips focus on opportunities to incorporate best practice. The diversity of types of loneliness, types of interventions, target beneficiaries and locations are such that there will never be a one-size-fits-all approach to fighting loneliness. Here, we draw out promising factors, mechanisms and approaches that make existing interventions more likely to be effective. As some tips emphasise, approaches should be personalised and localised to tackle loneliness.

Therefore, these tips should be taken as ideas to explore, rather than as a prescriptive checklist.

This paper has been produced by New Philanthropy Capital as part of the evaluation for the Building Connections Fund. Should you have any questions or would like more information please get in touch at BCFevaluation@thinknpc.org

Guidance on Evaluation for Grant Holders

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This guide brings together NPC’s pioneering impact practice resources to offer practical guidance to Building Connections Fund Grant Holders and others working on reducing loneliness. It is designed to complement the What Works Centre for Wellbeing’s guidance A Brief Guide to measuring loneliness.

 We need to understand more about the factors associated with loneliness, what the effects of loneliness are for different people and how we can prevent or alleviate it. Currently, there is limited evidence on loneliness. We have some data on loneliness in older people, but less for other age groups including children and young people. This guidance is designed to help you evaluate your activities tackling loneliness and improve the sector’s understanding of what works. You do not need to have any prior knowledge of impact measurement or evaluation.

Evaluation is about asking and answering some of the most fundamental questions: Are we making a difference? How can we improve? Are we reaching the right people? How does our programme lead to change? It is about developing an approach to learning about what changes occur, how change happens, and what causes change.

Please note that though this guide will help you collect data for your project, Building Connections Grant Holders who are chosen to take part in our smaller evaluation cohorts will be given extra support by NPC.
This document has been produced for Building Connections Fund grant-holders but can be applied to any activities aimed at reducing loneliness.

This guidance consists of three sections:

Section 1 outlines the national measures of loneliness. All organisations working on tackling loneliness should consider if they can use these to evaluate their work.

Section 2 takes you through five steps for developing and implementing a measurement framework for evaluating your work.

Section 3 offers practical advice for using different approaches and methods for data collection and analysis. It also outlines key evaluation considerations relating to research ethics and data protection.

This guide has been produced by NPC as part of the evaluation for the Building Connections Fund. For more information please get in touch at BCFevaluation@thinknpc.org

Guidance on co-design and community spaces

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This document offers practical guidance on co-design, evaluation of co-design and evaluation of community spaces. It includes an introduction to co-design and why it matters, top tips and tools for creating and monitoring a co-design process, and advice on how to evaluate it.

We need to understand more about loneliness: the factors associated with it, the effects it has on different people, and how we can prevent or alleviate it. Currently, the evidence base is very limited – we have some data on loneliness in older people, but less for other age groups (including children and young people).  

This document offers guidance on co-design, evaluation of co-design and evaluation of community spaces. It includes three main sections:

  1. A brief introduction to co-design and why it matters
  2. Top tips and tools for creating and monitoring a co-design process
  3. Advice on how to evaluate co-design by reflecting on: the benefits of co-design for staff and young people; the quality of the co-design process; and insights into addressing loneliness and social isolation.

This guidance was developed for the Building Connections Fund grant-holders who are working specifically on co-design and community spaces, but can be used by any organisation looking to design or improve its co-design process. It builds on the Guidance on Evaluation for Building Connections Fund Grant-holders, which offers practical guidance for understanding evaluation and evaluating your activities.

Should you have any questions or would like more information please get in touch at BCFevaluation@thinknpc.org

Co-Design and Community Spaces – Final Report

NPC has conducted a qualitative evaluation of these projects to better understand role of co-design and community spaces in reducing loneliness for young people.

Visit their website to download the report

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