From Isolation to Inclusion: innovation in social service delivery to improve social inclusion and counteract loneliness in the NSR

Many people Across the North Sea Region (NSR) are experiencing social isolation and/or loneliness. Finding a solution requires action from multiple agencies for its successful alleviation.

Canal & River Trust (CRT) is a partner in “From Isolation to Inclusion (I2I)” a NSR funded project, which started in January 2020, tackling this multifaceted problem. Action is needed because the public sector is struggling to address such a complex problem. Partners will work together to achieve the overall objective:

“to enhance innovation in social service delivery to improve social inclusion and counteract loneliness in NSR communities and neighbourhoods”

I2I will focus on innovation in service delivery (including utilising new technology, e.g. serious gaming, apps, chatbots, VR/AR) through bringing organisations together and co-creating solutions with the target groups.

CRT will develop and carry out practical activities like community gardens installation and maintenance, or recreational activities such as canoeing, kayaking and running. All will be activities of some sort that get the target group participants “engaged with their neighbourhoods and more active and healthy”.

CRT will demonstrate how such schemes can facilitate ‘social prescribing’ and will contribute to testing measurement methodologies around this subject and developing a bespoke version to be applied in I2I.

The partnership working will enable CRT to improve ‘local’ interventions; taking best practice from partners and trialling these on and around our waterways. We will help improve the project’s measurement methodology – and take away an effective, jointly developed tool.

This methodology will be a valuable addition to the range of work CRT are already carrying out in this field to demonstrate the social and economic value of waterways and the role CRT and many NIWE members can play by providing and maintaining attractive environments for communities to live, work and play in.






  • Aarhus Kommune
  • Abertay University
  • Arendal kommune
  • Campaign to End Loneliness
  • Canal & River Trust
  • Diakonisches Werk Bremen e.V.
  • Gemeente Assen
  • OCMW Turnhout
  • Region Värmland
  • Stad Aalst
  • Stad Turnhout
  • Universitetet i Agder


  • Funded by Interreg North Sea Region
  • Total Project budget €3.2m
  • Canal & River Trust budget €275k
  • Canal & River Trust ERDF €138k

Starts 1/1/2020 – Ends 31/12/2022