Funding boost for befriending service to tackle loneliness and isolation among older people
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
A befriending service aimed at helping lonely older people feel more connected with the community has been given a funding boost through the Surviving Winter appeal.
The campaign, run by the Norfolk Community Foundation and backed by the EDP and Norwich Evening News, is aiming to raise £150,000 to tackle fuel poverty and isolation for those who struggle the most during the colder winter months.
It aims to reach people who are currently on the edge of formal support but are in serious need, with the support from key partners Age UK Norfolk, Norwich Foodbank and St Martin's Housing.
One service to benefit from the appeal is Age UK's telephone befriending service, which offers around 200 people aged over 60 companionship by phone with a volunteer or befriending coordinator.
The befriending service has been given a funding boost through Surviving Winter by Norfolk-based farming charity the Clan Trust, which has donated £15,000 specifically to support older people.
Some of those who sign up to the service may not have anyone to talk to and are forced to live a secluded life during winter, but through Age UK they receive a weekly call for a chat and can even take part in quizzes, which helps to alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation.
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Henry Raker, trustee of the Clan Trust, said: 'We are delighted to support the Surviving Winter appeal and, through our donation, aim to make a demonstrable impact on tackling loneliness amongst older people in our local community – a deeply concerning issue during winter.'
The donation has helped to bring the Surviving Winter total up to more than £100,000, but there is still urgent need for help from local people and businesses to ensure vulnerable people are not left suffering.
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Norfolk Community Foundation chief executive Claire Cullens said: 'We are immensely grateful to all of the donors who have raised such a significant amount to support some of Norfolk's most vulnerable this winter.
'However, we still need to raise more to ensure that we can continue to reach out to people in need through until spring, from older people struggling with isolation to those who are homeless.
'Any donation you can give will make a real difference.'
How to donate
Help elderly and vulnerable people stay warm, fed and sheltered this winter by donating to the Surviving Winter campaign.
The campaign is urging older people who do not need their winter fuel allowance to donate it to those who desperately do, as many are faced with choosing between paying the bills and putting food on the table.
Funds raised in the appeal will be distributed to a range of good causes across Norfolk, including the foundation trust's key partners Age UK Norfolk, Norwich Foodbank and St Martins Housing Trust.
To donate, Visit the Surviving Winter appeal donation page at www.norfolkfoundation.com/news-events/launch-of-the-surviving-winter-appeal or call Norfolk Community Foundation on 01603 623 958.
You can donate by cheque made payable to Norfolk Community Foundation and send it to Norfolk Community Foundation, St James Mill, Whitefriars, Norwich, NR3 1TN.