£1m funding pot to tackle social exclusion in North Yorkshire

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Almost £1m will be given to voluntary and community groups working with elderly people in North Yorkshire to tackle loneliness, reduce falls and support people in their own homes.

Addressing social exclusion and the negative health effects of loneliness will be key priorities for The Innovation Fund - a new funding programme which will support people at risk.

Funded by North Yorkshire County Council’s Health and Adult Services Directorate, NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group and Craven District Council, the £954,974 fund is open to community and voluntary organisations that deliver across the county.

Fuel poverty and preventing winter deaths will be the specifically addressed in Craven.

Knaresborough-based social enterprise Your Consortium will manage the fund.

Chief executive Sue Vasey said: “We are really excited to be offering the voluntary and community sector funding support to develop approaches to the challenges faced in communities across North Yorkshire. Our experience working with voluntary and community partners over the last seven years has shown that the sector is well able to deliver targeted, cost effective work and to find innovative approaches to project and partnership working.”

The fund, which aims to reduce reliance on the Council and health services, will be launched at an event at Thirsk and Sowerby Town Hall next week.

Coun Don Mackenzie said the investment was part of a wider drive to help people to maintain their independence.

He said: “The Fund is intended to reduce the number of persons who consider themselves lonely or socially isolated, and to provide practical help to them to remain in their own community.

“We also wish to bring about a reduction in the number of falls suffered by our residents, because these so often lead people to become fearful and to withdraw from social activity.

“I am all too aware of the effects of loneliness on health and social care, and that overcoming isolation represents a major challenge especially in a rural county.”