Age UK’s £ 31,000 Befriending Service National Lottery win will help tackle loneliness and isolation for older people in Bromsgrove
A SCHEMA aimed at eradicating loneliness, isolation and loss of confidence among older people caused by the pandemic has received funding of £ 31,000 from the National Lottery.
The money was awarded to Age UK Bromsgrove, Redditch and Wyre Forest to support its Befriending service.
The charity is supporting people aged 50 and over in North Worcestershire and will use the money to support community members, helping them overcome some of the long-term effects of Covid-19.
Friendship is one of the charity’s main charitable services, providing local people with friendship and support through regular calls or visits by a volunteer.
After the first announcement of the lockdown, the service quickly had to adapt to become a “telephone-only service”.
And, while the charity has seen a significant increase in “demand” for the service over the past 14 months, it has also seen a change in “need” and in the tone of conversations.
Older people who previously expressed a rather positive “social outlook” expressed “nervousness” about being with others.
The National Lottery Community Fund award will help pay for the running costs of the Befriending service and ensure that the much-appreciated support can continue, as the charity recovers its financial position after the pandemic.
Research shows that people in the West Midlands show that almost half (46%) believe that reducing loneliness and isolation is important for the well-being of their community this year.
While phone support will continue to be an important part of the service, this funding will allow Age UK BRWF to develop a more flexible (and Covid-secured) approach to helping community members re-establish these very important contacts. -Faced with social connections.
They include more home visits, coffee and garden visits, and accompanying people on store visits.
The “buddy” support will help them rebuild their confidence.
Age UK BRWF Interim CEO Amanda Allen said: “As a charity, we are keenly aware of the impacts that loneliness can have on the health and well-being of an older person.
“As lockdown restrictions are relaxed, there is a potential for a growing rift between those who are able to restart their social connections and those (like those who have protected) who feel they cannot.
“Thanks to the National Lottery players, we can now not only maintain our current levels of support, but also expand the service to meet the needs of our communities and reach those who need our help the most.
“We have an absolutely amazing team of Befriending volunteers, but to help us grow the service we also need more people to get involved.”
Nicola Thurbon, Senior Regional Funding Officer for the National Lottery Community Fund for the Midlands, said: “We are pleased to fund Age UK BRWF, whose staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly through an incredibly difficult year to offer support to people in loneliness.
“Thanks to National Lottery players, who raise £ 30million every week for good causes across the UK, people will continue to benefit from phone friendship, especially those who have had to protect themselves or themselves. ‘isolate.”
The service also needs more people to get involved and the charity urged anyone interested in becoming a ‘friend’ to visit www.ageuk.org.uk/brwf/ or call 01527 570490.