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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Top concern for churches right now: loneliness

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

A report shows what most worries churches in the wake of the pandemic – loneliness, social isolation and adult mental health and well-being.

Surveying hundreds of churches, charities, dioceses and cathedrals which the grant-making body the Allchurches Trust has supported since 2016, a picture emerges, in Hope Beyond Research – Church Survey Results, of just what most concerns such organisations as Covid-19 takes its toll on individuals and communities.

For example, of 632 churches who replied to the question: 'Looking three months ahead, what do you think the biggest needs of those served by your church are likely to be as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic? (select a top five)', the percentage listings were as follows:

  • 78% Loneliness and social isolation

  • 53% Adult mental health and well-being

  • 40% Physical health needs of those who are still at risk/vulnerable/older

  • 38% Spiritual input

  • 37% Worship

Likewise, looking a year ahead and asked the same question, they answered:

  • 58% Loneliness and social isolation

  • 49% Adult mental health and well-being

  • 46% Spiritual input

  • 39% Worship

  • 37% Rebuilding community cohesion

Asked, 'If the necessary funding and resources were available, what kind of support and activities would your church like to offer as a direct response to the changing needs caused by the Coronavirus pandemic?', the top five replies were:

  • 59% Initiatives to tackle loneliness and social isolation among older people

  • 41% More online worship

  • 29% Technology equipment/resources to help people access online services/support

  • 29% Mental health and well-being groups for adults

  • 27% Digital/online training for older members of congregation/community

(610 churches answered this question)

840 responses were received to this summer's Allchurches Trust survey, though not all respondents answered all questions.

I can't help but feel that Anna Chaplaincy for Older People – the work of our 147 network members and dozens more volunteer Anna Friends – has never been more relevant to the public debate surrounding older people, coronavirus and community cohesion than it is now.



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