INNOVATIVE schemes across Yorkshire are to share almost £1 million in lottery funding to tackle loneliness and isolation among those most in need of help.
A project developed by a former North Yorkshire psychiatric nurse that uses sporting memories to tackle dementia, depression and loneliness are among those receiving funding, as is a scheme in York that offers older people help with housing, health and social care, and dozens of grass-roots projects taking place across the region that help those who are socially isolated connect with the communities around them.
The Sporting Memories Network received the biggest grant from the Big Lottery Fund, £483,373, to train an army of volunteers working in communities across the country, including in Yorkshire, establishing 64 weekly groups over the next two years with sports clubs, libraries, housing associations, universities and third sector organisations.
The Network has worked with hundreds of people in projects across the region, using reminiscing, storytelling and exercise to help tackle loneliness, and is working with Yorkshire Cricket Foundation to collect memorabilia to help with reminiscence activities.
Co-founder and director of Sporting Memories, Tony Jameson-Allen said: “Many of us have powerful memories from sport, whether it’s watching the World Cup with the local community coming together, singing, chanting, or being at a memorable Centre Court match at Wimbledon. There’s something about the communal and shared activity that creates powerful, positive memories. It’s about camaraderie, humour and spirit. Sport teaches us a lot about resilience as well as the uplift of winning; it can have such an inspiring, resonating impact in our lives, and we’re proud to help bring alive the past into the present, and bring people together.”
Lyn Cole, Big Lottery Fund’s England Grant Making Director, said: “We’ve learned that social isolation is bad for health, with links to chronic conditions and increased mortality. With more people living well into their 80s, it’s more important than ever that projects such as Sporting Memories can unlock precious memories of excitement, joy, near-misses and triumph, to help promote healthy ageing.”
Older Citizens Advocacy York (OCAY) was awarded £313,184 for its work providing help to get people’s voices heard over issues such as housing, health and social care, finances and benefits.
The charity, based near York Hospital, has helped 3,500 older people since 2001 and the funding will ensure it can continue to support those most in need for the next five years.
Chair of Trustees, Rachel Totton, said she was delighted that Big Lottery has recognised the “high quality” of the charity’s work.
She said: “This shows their understanding of the growing numbers of older people in York and the complex issues that many older people face and with which they may seek help. Once again, Big Lottery Fund has supported the huge value our volunteers add to the service.”
Nationally, the partner in the Yorkshire Post’s Loneliness: The Hidden Epidemic campaign, the Campaign to End Loneliness has received £50,000 to build on its policy and frontline work and extend its impact across the whole of the UK.
Director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, Marcus Rand, said: “This will allow us to do the deep development thinking to significantly scale-up our work.”
Projects sharing £963,959 in grants include:
£483,373 to the Sporting Memories Network to train volunteers across the country over the next two years;
£313,184 for Older Citizens Advocacy York;
£860 to Wombwell and district mixed Probus Club in Barnsley for games equipment to motivate older people to be more active;
£9,878, for Eccleshill Walkers to bring families and older people together for exercise in Bradford;
£10,000 for Cleethorpe WMC to refurbish its function room to provide a community building;
£8,626 for a community event to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday in Grimsby, ran by Engage;
£9,194 to the Beautiful Minds project in Halifax to provide massage therapy and beauty treatments to dementia sufferers;
£9,988 to St John’s Church in Birkby, Huddersfield to provide social sessions for isolated people over 60;
£9,120 for the Coffee Project, ran by Better Future for the Blind in Huddersfield to provide social opportunities for the visually impaired;
£9,210 to Winterton Disabled Club to offer help with shopping and transport for older people with disabilities in Scunthorpe;
£9,500 for Kiveton Creative’s digital inclusion project in Rotherham, to reduce social isolation in older people with IT training;
£9,305 to Knayton Village Institute in Thirsk for a new boiler and lighting to help with community activities for older people;
£9,602 to Boltby Village Hall in Thirsk for building improvements.
£10,000 to the Stroke Matters group in Beverley.
£2,292 to Linc Inspire for craft workshops for young people in Grimsby to reduce isolation;
£10,000 for Netherton Infant and Nursery School to develop an outdoor area for the community to use for events to reduce social isolation;
£9,954 to Hull Drum Circle for sessions targeted at members of the community to reduce social isolation;
£9,960 to People Matters in Leeds to run a social enterprise aimed at reducing isolation and unemployment among people with learning disabilities;
£10,000 to Rotherham Deaf Community Advocacy and Welfare Project.
£9,960 to Bounce Forward for a drop in service for women and girls in Sheffield.
£9,953 to the Still Waters Church to provide English language classes to reduce isolation among new arrivals in Wakefield.