We welcome the inquiry into social isolation and loneliness as this is a well-known issue that can significantly impact people’s health and wellbeing.
To support our submission to the Inquiry, QCOSS conducted a survey exploring the causes of social isolation and loneliness among people accessing community services in Queensland.
Our survey identified groups of community service users who are particularly impacted by social isolation and loneliness. These groups include seniors, people with a disability, people experiencing physical or mental health issues, unpaid family carers, single mothers and people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.
Through analysing our survey data, we identified the following barriers to using current investment in community services to ameliorate social isolation and loneliness for people experiencing the most disadvantage in Queensland:
• Lack of adequate funding for community service organisations (including neighbourhood centres) to design and deliver sustainable person-centred programs and activities
• Lack of flexibility with funding arrangements to design and deliver programs that benefit a wide range of community service users
• Inadequate income and other support provided to people experiencing disadvantage
• Poor transport and digital connectivity that prevents access to existing services and resources.
There is significant opportunity for community organisations to play a greater role in tackling social isolation and loneliness. Some of these include: