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Young at Heart group wins lottery funding

Young at Heart group wins lottery funding

We are pleased to announce that the Young at Heart project has successfully obtained Awards for All funding from the Big Lottery Fund to launch a new lunch club to tackle social isolation in older people in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

Older people are at risk of loneliness and isolation due to loss of friends or family, retiring from work and becoming less mobile. Young at Heart aims to tackle this problem and improve the health and wellbeing of older people across North Staffordshire and Stoke.  

Young at Heart groups meet regularly in Meir, Kidsgrove and Hanley to provide a safe and welcoming environment for people to socialise and take part in activities that will interest them and help maintain their health and wellbeing.

/media/news/library/liverpool-trip.jpgAs well as lunch clubs, activities and entertainment, the groups have run excursions to places such as Buxton, Blackpool, Wales, the National War Museum and Liverpool. The project also operates a volunteer gardening scheme which has seen 30 people benefit since the pilot project began this summer. Volunteers visit people at home to mow their lawn, do some light weeding and generally keep the outside neat and tidy. This reduces crime, improves residents’ homes and provides company and befriending.

Building on the success of the last year, the project obtained the Awards for All grant to open a new lunch club at the Sacred Heart Community Centre in Hanley.

Matt Ford, Development Officer, says, “The new club will be open to all older people in the area. It will run every other Monday from 12:30 to 4:00 and we expect to welcome about 40 people. It will be a great opportunity to get out and about, meet people and make new friends.”

As well as the social opportunities, the club aims to improve the health and wellbeing of attenders through exercise classes, arts and crafts, health advice, excursions and other activities. It will also ensure that people who attend get at least one healthy hot meal a week, and will provide information on how people can eat well at home.

Guest speakers at the club will include local retailers, who can provide information on services and products that they can offer to older people, and a GP Practice Manager, who will discuss health-related issues affecting older people. This will enable easy access to health advice and help to circulate information about services that will be beneficial to older people, such as the flu vaccination.

Thanks to lottery funding, Young at Heart will be able to support more people by combating social isolation and loneliness, improving the health and wellbeing of those who attend the groups, and supporting them to live a fulfilling, active and enjoyable life.

As the service grows, Matt is also looking for volunteers for the new group and the existing Young at Heart Clubs. There are many ways for people to get involved, says Matt. “We need people to prepare or serve food at a lunch club, lend a helping hand with activities at the clubs or on coach trips, or get involved in the gardening scheme.”

The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery for good causes and invests over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes. Since June 2004 the Big Lottery has awarded over £8 billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £33 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.

To find out more about volunteering or joining a group, contact Matt Ford on 07587 034299 or email mattford@fatherhudsons.org.uk

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