Loneliness is becoming a major problem in England, says Church charity

Loneliness was the only significant problem reported in most wealthy areas and also affected poorer places

Loneliness is a major problem in England, while the number of churches running food banks has doubled to more than 65 per cent since 2012, according to vicars.

A survey by the Church Urban Fund and the Church of England found that 10 per cent more members of the clergy believed that social isolation was a major problem in their local area than in 2012, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Paul Hackwood, the executive chairman of Church Urban Fund, said: “We see through our work the damage that loneliness and isolation brings to people’s lives.

“It is fantastic to see the difference that churches are making in local communities, rebuilding hope and growing meaningful relationships.”

Loneliness was the only significant problem reported in most wealthy areas and also affected poorer places, which also had to deal with unemployment, homelessness and poor housing.

The survey found two-thirds of churches were now helping to run food banks, up from a third in 2012.

Previous surveys have found about five million people in the UK do not have any close friends.

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