Lottery funding for loneliness charity that offers friendship via a cup of tea

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A charity that reduces loneliness using the most simple of methods, a cup of tea and a chat, is one of four projects to receive £1.2m in Lottery funding.

Contact the Elderly will use £116,004 in grant funding to expand its monthly tea parties for older people who live with little or no support in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

The charity, which already runs eight friendship groups in the area, has helped 270 acutely lonely people in the area over the last five years.

Chief executive Mary Rance said: “With over 80 per cent of older guests feeling less lonely as a result of our monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties, we know that we are making a huge impact on isolated older people, and as we lead up to our Golden Jubilee year in 2015 the Reaching Communities grant will enable us to reach out to many more people in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire who are off the radar and desperately need our support.”

Sheffield community centre Foxhill Forum Limited has received £299,967 to provide a range of activities including lunch clubs and crafts, to address unemployment, health issues and isolation.

Unemployed people in Huddersfield, Batley and Dewsbury will benefit from a £350,400 grant for Proper Job Theatre Company, which helps people get back into work using a drama skills programme.

The Warren of Hull Ltd has received £492,029 to provide young people one to one support and college courses to 2,500 young people over four years.

All of the grants come from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme.

Big Lottery Fund spokesperson Dharmendra Kanani said the grants would improve the lives of hundreds of people.