Grassroots community groups ‘vital’ in fighting scourge of loneliness

  • North West Hampshire MP to write to Ministers to see if local micro charities can access more funding.


Community groups are ‘vital’ in fighting the scourge of loneliness, says Kit Malthouse MP.

It comes as the MP visited Oakley Men’s Shed where older men, often lonely or isolated, get together and work on their practical skills.

Since opening in May 2018, the community group has already taken on 25 members, some of whom have lost their partners or wives. They have made more than 50 items, much of it for the local community such as installing a seat in the cemetery, fixing notice boards and repairing toys for a nursery.

Kit Malthouse, MP for North West Hampshire, said:

Feeling lonely and isolated can have a devastating effect on people’s lives. It can affect any of us, no matter our age, background or lifestyle.

I recently visited Oakley Men’s Shed where older men, often lonely or isolated, can get together, work on their practical skills and enjoy making and mending. It’s a brilliant way to build friendships and share skills and knowledge over cups of tea. Humans were made to talk to each other and use their hands to make things, repair things and cook food – this scheme encourages that and is helping many people.

We have many schemes like this across North West Hampshire and they are vital in fighting the scourge of loneliness. It’s often the smaller charities that play an important part in setting them up, and I’m going to see what more we can do to help them access funding.

Oakley Men’s Shed has helped one local resident, who found it difficult to come to terms with his wife passing away after a 52-year marriage:

After my wife died just over two years ago, my life was suddenly empty and I had 168 hours a week to fill. I found a couple of volunteering occupations, and my family found a couple of things for me to do which all helped. I then heard about the Men’s Shed which was starting up in our village, and that introduced a step change in my life. There was the basic occupation of time but also the mental challenge of starting something new – this has continued and I have met and made friends with people having similar issues. I have learnt new skills and developed existing ones. I am beginning to feel fulfilled.

Kit Malthouse MP will write to ministers to see what further funding can be opened up to micro charities fighting loneliness.