May 18, 2022 6.30 pm

The loneliest places in Lincolnshire where most people feel cut off

Loneliness isn’t seen as a ‘trivial matter’ anymore

By Local Democracy Reporter

Social isolation left one in eight Lincolnshire people feeling lonely most of the time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A government study found anxiety also increased as the country was forced to lockdown, particularly among people who were shielding or lived alone.

South Holland and West Lindsey were the parts of Lincolnshire where people were left feeling most isolated.

Around 13% of people reported feeling lonely ‘a lot’ or ‘all of the time’ in these districts between October 2020 and February 2021, according to the Office of National Statistics.

However, social cohesion was less of a problem in North Kesteven, where only 1.7% said they were seriously affected by loneliness during that period.

Urban areas and places where there was a high concentration of young or unemployed people were most prone to feeling lonely, the national study found.

A public health report on the issue will go before Lincolnshire County Council’s Adult and Community Wellbeing Committee next week, looking at the increasing impact and how people can become less isolated.

Loneliness can affect people of all ages | Photo: Adobe Stock

“There is a growing recognition that loneliness has far reaching implications for individuals and also for communities,” the report says.

“Whilst in the past loneliness was sometimes viewed as a trivial or individual personal matter, it is now known to have a wide range of negative effects on both physical and mental health, including depression and suicide, cardiovascular disease and stroke and increased stress levels.”

It says some of the places which glued communities together have disappeared during the pandemic and the proceeding years.

“Many places, particularly in rural and coastal areas, have lost pubs, community centres and neighbourhood shops: the places where people connect, make friends, build relationships, and cultivate a sense of neighbourliness.

“This is not limited to the poorest neighbourhoods, but the impact is often most obvious in communities that have also suffered economic decline. This may be exacerbated in a reduction of business and public sector service provision due to the COVID pandemic.”

The council says it aims to help communities be self-sufficient and thriving in order to reduce loneliness, and improve access to local health and care.