East Riding of Yorkshire Council recognises the damaging effect that loneliness can have on older people’s health and wellbeing.
To combat this the council, in partnership with the East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group, is exploring ways to help people connect to activities in their locality.
One of these ways is through the Connecting Communities Grant Fund.
Established in July 2013 the time limited grant is designed to support community activity, promote independence, and combat social isolation among the over 50s.
The money has helped groups get off the ground and thrive, by for example funding new equipment, day trips, activities, and training.
The Martongate Community Cafe, in Bridlington has benefitted from the scheme.
The cafe, which is open at the North Library on Tuesdays 2-4.15pm, is somewhere for people to socialise in a friendly environment, play table games such as dominoes and scrabble, and participate in a chair-based exercise class delivered by NHS Practice Health Champions called Exercise4All.
Project leader, Rev Gavin McFadyen, said: “The grant money has made a huge difference to the work of the cafe, enabling it to get started and to develop activities which are a real benefit to the community.
“The cafe is about creating community by helping people become connected through friendship and by having fun together.”
The Wednesday Club, which meets weekly at Ellerton and Aughton Village Hall, was established 25 years ago and in danger of closing until they too successfully applied for a grant.
Volunteer coordinator Simone Wintringham said: “The Wednesday Club has been a real life saver. One person who attends lost his wife and didn’t leave the house for six months but since coming to the club I now regularly see him out and about in Pocklington.”
The club offers a varied activity programme to around 17 people, many aged 70 or over or with serious mobility problems.
In a recent survey 85% of members said they felt less lonely since joining the Wednesday Club, while 100% of members said they had learnt new skills.
Simone added: “Without the grant we wouldn’t be up and running. The money covers everything from our transport costs to our activities, trips out and training the 16 volunteers on the rota. It’s been a fantastic boost.”
Cllr Richard Harrap, portfolio holder for adult and carer services, said: “Connecting Communities is a fantastic source of support for community and voluntary groups who need the financial boost to get started or to continue helping people lead independent and socially engaged lives.”
For more details contact Roger Tomlin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01482 392226.
Information about groups in your area is available online through East Riding Connect to Support at www.connecttosupport.org/eastriding