Chronic loneliness faced by people with learning difficulties is being tackled thanks to a grant from Northumberland Freemasons.
The £9,000 grant to charity Skills For People will pay for a programme of social activities for 60 people, some of whom did not have a single friend before joining the programme.
There are 6,000 to 8,000 people with learning disabilities in Newcastle. More than 50 per cent of people with a learning disability experience chronic loneliness, compared to 15 to 30 per cent of the general population.
Loneliness is linked to depression, high blood pressure, reduced confidence and lack of self-esteem.
Skills for People provides a range of social activities, including a drama group, Knit and Natter club, film nights and friendship groups.
The grant from Northumberland Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends from across England and Wales.
Liz Wright, Chief Executive of Skills for People said: “We’re very grateful to Northumberland Freemasons for their grant, which will help people with learning disabilities have fun, learn new skills and, most importantly, make friends.”