A fantastic sum totalling over £1.4 Million has been awarded to three new charities supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery.
The charities, Volunteering Matters, The Silver Line and Contact the Elderly, work to help improve the health and wellbeing of elderly people in Great Britain who may be suffering from loneliness and isolation as well as other issues.
£450,000 will be earmarked for expanding Volunteering Matters' Retired and Senior Volunteering Programme (RSVP) across the UK. RSVP was set up in 1988 specifically to harness the energy and experience of older people and prevent them from becoming excluded or isolated when their working life ended.
Volunteering Matters also runs Sporting Chance, a health programme which is aimed at isolated older men, currently operating in Middlebrough and Stockton-on-Tees. £150,000 will be used to extend this project and replicate the Sporting Chance model in Sheffield.
The project offers a range of free activities to older men, including exercise classes and social groups. In 2015, an independent evaluation found that the Sporting Chance model is effective in preventing and managing symptoms of long-term conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and chronic respiratory disease.
Our second newly-supported charity, The Silver Line, is the only free, national, confidential helpline open every day and night, offering information, friendship and advice to older people.
The helpline has received more than one million calls since its launch in November 2013. Over two-thirds of these calls were made overnight or at weekends when no other helpline is available for older people who may be lonely, isolated, or confused.
And with call levels growing all the time, The Silver Line is battling to raise the funds it needs to keep its vital night-time and weekend helpline service going.
The Silver Line relies entirely on donations and needs to raise £5 Million every year to ensure its helpline and friendship services can keep going. There is no cost to the older person for any of its services, which are funded from donations.
The Founder of The Silver Line, Dame Esther Rantzen, said, "This is great news for all the lonely or isolated older people who rely on The Silver Line around the clock, every day of the year. We'd like to say a big 'thank you' to players of the People's Postcode Lottery for their amazing support.
"I hope all the players will realise just what a difference they are making through this award. They're helping to bring the gift of company, shared memories, and laughter back into the lives of lonely older people, many of whom have no one else to speak to for days on end – even at Christmas."
Our third new charity, Contact the Elderly, organises free, monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for people aged 75 or over who live alone. Much more than just tea and cake, the parties are a way for older people to socialise, make friends, and feel part of their community again.
With recent research suggesting there is, on average, at least one lonely older person in every UK postcode, the issue of loneliness is a hidden and growing crisis for society.
Contact the Elderly currently supports almost 5,400 older people, with demand for the service increasing all the time.
Thanks to the generous support of players of People's Postcode Lottery, Contact the Elderly is currently hosting new tea parties across Great Britain at the rate of two every week. This support will continue to extend the charity's ability to offer this vital service to the loneliest and most isolated people in our communities.