Britain’s disability shame as two in five feel lonely, landmark poll reveals

A huge survey of over 10,000 Britons has shown that people with disabilities feel lonelier than those without. The poll found that two out of five (40%) disabled people often feel lonely, compared to just 29% of non-disabled people.

This research was carried out by the Belonging Forum and it also showed that a shocking 14% of disabled people don’t have any close friends and one in five often or always feel lonely. Disabled people are also more likely to feel anxious and less happy with their lives.

The ONS found that disabled people aged 16 to 64 years were less happy with their life, felt things were less worthwhile, were less happy and were more anxious than non-disabled people. The Belonging Forum’s poll also showed that 45% of disabled people felt anxious, compared to 36% of everyone else.

Just over half (51%) of disabled people were happy with their life, which is much lower than the 67% of other groups who said they were. The poll also showed that disabled people don’t go out as much.

A quarter said they never go to a pub, bar, or coffee shop with their friends, and this goes up to 32% for those aged.

The survey found that 45-54 year olds with disabilities feel more left out than the general population, with only 17% feeling included. Additionally, only 63% of those with a disability feel safe walking alone near their home after dark, compared to 72% of the general population.

The poll also revealed that disabled people are more likely to feel that the government doesn’t consider their needs (66% vs. 56%).

The research aims to explore social isolation and people’s sense of belonging in today’s Britain. It will also help shape a series of policies and initiatives that the Belonging Forum will campaign for, known as the Charter for Belonging.

This Charter will include a variety of ideas and initiatives developed in partnership with leading organisations and frontline workers.

Kim Samuel, Co-founder of the Belonging Forum and author of On Belonging: Finding Connection in an Age of Isolation, said: “Our research-the first of its kind in the UK-identified acute issues drawn along lines including age, home ownership, and gender.

“But one of the groups being hit the hardest is people with disabilities. In people with disabilities, whether they are physical, developmental or mental-health related, being socially connected is associated with higher levels of self-rated mental health, health and life satisfaction.

“Belonging is our birthright. It’s also a helpful framework for building a more resilient society.

”We call on our public, private and third sectors to take decisive action to build and strengthen vital connections within and between our communities.”

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