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Pam Cameron MLA has called on interested groups and individuals to engage with the DUP as it develops a new policy on the crisis of loneliness in our community. This is an increasingly prevalent issue as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and society re-adjusts to the easement of restrictions.

She said:

“Loneliness affects individuals of all ages and can have a detrimental impact on a person's mental health and well-being. Theconcerning levels of loneliness in our society have been further exacerbated over the past year by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new loneliness strategy, in light of the indirect consequences of lockdown, needs to be developed with meaningful recommendations and outcomes. Government must work on a multi-agency and cross departmental basisto tackle loneliness and social isolation head on.

As a result, the DUP wishes to see a long-term approach towards tackling loneliness that includes:

  • Identifying the causes and factors contributing to loneliness in Northern Ireland
  • Recognising the support available and role of the community & voluntary sector
  • Developing new Government and Community initiatives to tackle loneliness and social isolation
  • Production of a detailed, encompassing and effective cross departmental strategy to tackle loneliness in our society

To this end we are beginning a substantial consultation which will inform the approach the DUP will take to tackle this issue, be it at Westminster, NI Assembly or Councils.

I encourage those organisations and communities interested in this issue to engage with our Policy Unit in the coming weeks and months to ensure their views are heard.