Age Concern Hampshire receives £25,000 grant from Freemasons to support isolated elderly people

A HAMPSHIRE charity has been given a £25,000 grant to support hundreds of elderly people who feel isolated.

Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 12:30 pm

Age Concern Hampshire received the subsidy from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Freemasons to provide social activities and volunteer opportunities.

The cash windfall is expected to help scores of pensioners from across the area, including some who live in Portsmouth.

Brogan Rehill, head of fundraising and marketing from Age Concern Hampshire, said: ‘We’re very grateful to Hampshire Freemasons for their generous grant.

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Jon Whitaker (Left) head of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Freemasons and his charity steward, John Pearson, spend time at Age Concern’s Lockswood Care and Wellbeing Centre in Locks Heath with local ladies Naomi and Mo as they reminisced using memory cards. Theresa Carter (Back Left) Head of Care looks on with Carolyn Warner the Centre’s Manager. Picture: Age Concern Hampshire.

‘It will help hundreds of local older people who have experienced very high levels of depression, anxiety and loneliness since they were forced to self-isolate in the pandemic.

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‘Our aim is to help them fully re-join the community once again.’

With the extra funding, the charity is planning on helping more than 800 people re-join their communities – after feeling detached during Covid-19 lockdowns.

The £25,000 grant will subsidise Age Concern Hampshire’s information and wellbeing project.

Telephone support, weekly social activities for older people, and volunteering opportunities, will all be provided through the scheme.

The money will also go towards community information volunteers, who will let people know about local support services, groups and trusted tradespeople.

Extra support will be crucial in supporting older residents in Hampshire.

More than 20 per cent of people in the county are over 65-years-old, higher than the national average.

Pensioners often rely on over-the-phone and face-to-face communications, with Age Concern Hampshire logging over 1,400 enquiries between 2020 and 2021.

Volunteers from the charity spent approximately 364 hours supporting 188 clients with form filling services across Hampshire, securing them £229,000 in annual benefits.

Alongside staff, these volunteers aim to help elderly residents access resources benefitting their physical, mental, and financial health.

The grant from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by members, friends and family from England and Wales.

Jon Whitaker, head of the Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Freemasons, said: ‘I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Age Concern Hampshire with this hugely important project to overcome isolation among older people.

‘The pandemic has forced hundreds of the most vulnerable older people in our community to shut themselves away. It’s essential that we do everything we can to help them forge new social connections and regain a meaningful quality of life.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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