Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) has launched the ‘Heart of Hampshire’ Fund, enabling local businesses and individuals to support the smaller voluntary and community groups that are tackling the issues of social isolation and loneliness affecting older people in Hampshire. It is estimated that there are approximately 27,000 lonely older people in Hampshire, and the Heart of Hampshire fund will award grant funding to the smaller local charities and community groups working incredibly hard to make a difference to these people’s lives.
The Fund has been set up to support projects that offer a lifeline to older people, providing a hot meal at a lunch club, transport to a group for companionship, a chat over coffee, a day-trip to the seaside or the chance to make new friends through a befriending scheme. These opportunities make such a difference in an isolated person’s life, as just knowing that someone is going to be calling in to visit or that you have set a date to meet up with friends for a catch up over a cup of tea can really transform what could be a lonely week into a something to really look forward to.
An HIWCF grant has recently supported local charity Basingstoke NeighbourCare. The group has 450 senior clients to transport to essential appointments and also provides a befriending service offering companionship and assistance in the home. Valerie is 85 and lives on her own, but finds it tricky to walk without assistance. She uses the services of Basingstoke NeighbourCare to help her carry out essential food shopping trips and to get to her hospital appointments.
Valerie said “I couldn’t manage without Basingstoke NeighbourCare, the volunteers provide a wonderful service, they take me to my appointments, sit with me to keep me company, bring me back home, and they are giving up their time because they want to help me, it’s so lovely to have some company there to listen to you, and to chat with.”
Speaking about the new fund, Grant Cornwell MBE, Chief Executive for HIWCF said: “The Heart of Hampshire fund has been set up to make a positive difference to the lives of older people in our local communities. Over half of all people aged 75 and over live alone and data shows that over 10% of older people see somebody they know less than once a week. We are calling for Hampshire businesses to work with us to fund the vital initiatives and projects run by the army of amazing volunteers across our communities, which play a crucial role in tackling loneliness and isolation for older people. It is imperative that we support these people because we know how detrimental loneliness can be to a person’s health and wellbeing.”