Older people in Braunstone, Leicester are to benefit from an expanded range of services to reduce isolation and promote social independence thanks to a grant from Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons. The £58,841 grant to local charity, b inspired, will greatly assist with the running costs of the Braunstone Befriending Scheme for the next three years.
In Braunstone, an aging population means that demands for services tackling loneliness and isolation are growing, and the community also has higher rates of all cancers and strokes when compared to the Leicester average. The charity, b inspired, currently has a waiting list for its befriending service, which aims to improve mental health, self-confidence, resilience, and the capacity to cope and live independently for longer, through both home visits and social groups.
According to Age UK, 1.2 million older people in England are chronically lonely, 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with friends or family for an entire month, and loneliness can be as detrimental to a person’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Braunstone has around 4300 elderly people living in the area and many in the 500 Bungalows on the estate and 3 sheltered housing schemes.
The grant will fund the salary of a Befriending Scheme Co-Ordinator, as well as enable existing staff to work longer hours to deliver more services to those who need them. This will allow for more service users to be matched with likeminded people under the befriending service, as well as for the recruitment of more volunteers and the creation of a 12-month calendar of events and activities for older people in the community. The grant from Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families, and friends, from across England and Wales.
Angie Wright, Chief Officer of b inspired said:
“We’re very grateful to the Freemasons for their generous grant, which will help us to expand this very important project. Not only will it give older residents a chance to have someone to talk to about personal issues and about things in general, it also provides the opportunity to socialise and support with important information about local services”
David Hagger, Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons said:
“We’re very pleased to have been able to support the Braunstone Befriending Scheme. Older people in our community urgently need support to end social isolation, loneliness, and the conditions that come with it. We’re happy to help b inspired provide that support.”