Submission to the Inquiry into Social Isolation and Loneliness in Queensland
In May 2021, the Queensland Legislative Assembly Committee on Community Support and Services commenced an inquiry into social isolation and loneliness in Queensland.
The Salvation Army’s submission considers this issue against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, but notes that the issue predates the pandemic, and it will continue within the community without action.
The submission highlights the interrelation of all forms of disadvantage as both a cause and a consequence of social isolation. Those experiencing poverty and financial hardship, fleeing domestic and family violence, experiencing homelessness and with alcohol and other drug use disorders are often forced into situations of isolation and experience feelings of loneliness.
The Salvation Army’s experience shows that community connection is the underlying solution to the issue of social isolation and loneliness, and we have seen connection bring those experiencing loneliness back from significant mental ill-health. Our submission reinforces that efforts to develop belonging, through persistent, accessible community activities and services, is critical.
The Committee report was tabled in December 2021. The report discusses Salvation Army’s suggestion that volunteer opportunities provide a significant avenue for those experiencing social isolation and loneliness to engage, give back and enjoy connection with their community. Many of the Committee’s recommendations are in line with those of The Salvation Army submission.