Organisations and groups which operate at the grassroots level in communities – including neighbourhood centres, civic groups, faith-based organisations, sporting clubs, community health centres, and others – can make valuable contributions by offering opportunities for social connection and building the capacities of community members to engage those who are at risk of loneliness. While there is still limited evidence about the types of strategies that are effective in reducing loneliness, it has been consistently found that providing opportunities for engagement in meaningful, rewarding activities in a group environment is beneficial. The possibilities here are many and diverse, and might include community gardening, land care groups, walking and cycling groups, community choirs, mens’ sheds, book clubs, adult learning classes, dancing groups, surf lifesaving clubs, volunteering opportunities in community services … the list goes on!
However, it should be recognised that having a local presence, and even an espoused commitment to welcoming new members, does not mean that community organisations or groups will make a meaningful contribution towards reducing loneliness. Leaders and members of these entities require a values base, along with knowledge and skills, to successfully reach and engage community members, particularly those who have been living with loneliness and lack social confidence.