Ffyona Taylor, Policy and Events officer
Earlier this year, Corra Foundation reflected on learning from across Henry Duncan Grants, Partnership Drugs Initiative, Fortify and the People in Place programme, drawing on collective insights to respond to the Social isolation and loneliness consultation. Emerging from the discussions it became clear that isolation and loneliness is not an experience unique to one demographic, it can affect anyone at any age and any stage in their life.
Today’s announcement of a new Connected Scotland, Social Isolation and Loneliness strategy is a welcome recognition that communities play a central role in tackling isolation and fostering meaningful connections. The first strategy priority aligns with recent policy developments concerning community level influence and power. The local governance review hopes to provide traction for change in communities and ongoing dialogue on local democracy will be key, not only to devolve more power at community level but to unlock the potential of people to be the drivers of positive change.
At the heart of community engagement is recognition that inclusive activity needs a space. Spaces that are free from agenda and stigma, building kindness and connections. Spaces can be the lifeblood for communities, providing valuable opportunities for people to participate in local initiatives, form friendships and access support. The review of the National Planning Framework is a welcome action within the strategy and will be important in highlighting the role of local development plans in supporting community connections.
This new strategy supports the continued conversation on social isolation and loneliness in Scotland, something Corra Foundation is committed to. This strategy also acts as a reminder that ‘’loneliness doesn’t discriminate’’ and so will require collective action to understand the issue, challenge the stigma and support positive change.