SUCCESS FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION SUPPORT Charities and groups which brighten the lives of older people will share a £153,000 windfall thanks to a fundraising campaign by Lincolnshire Co-op. Together with members and colleagues, Lincolnshire Co-op has raised money for 63 friendship groups and lunch clubs working in and around the county. Loneliness and isolation is a problem for many older people in their communities, and it can affect their health and wellbeing. Local charities and lunch clubs around the area provide support and help at home, fun activities and friendship, but they need fundraising donations and dedicated volunteers to keep running these valued services. Through Lincolnshire Co-op’s Community Champions scheme, a donation was made each time a member shopped in one of the Society’s outlets from December until March. More than 156,000 members helped raise the total by shopping at Lincolnshire Co-op outlets, and proceeds from the carrier bag levy and staff fundraising also went into the pot. Now charities Community Lincs in Lincolnshire, Friendship at Home in North East Lincolnshire and Newark Live at Home, plus 60 other smaller groups and clubs across the area, are receiving a share of the money. They’ll use it to continue making life better for over 50s in their communities. Lincolnshire Co-op’s Community Engagement Manager Sam Turner said: “These charities, groups and lunch clubs are a lifeline – there’s just no other way to describe them. The services they provide vary from transport to health appointments and support with tricky household tasks to the chance to keep active and have fun. Even a simple chat with a volunteer makes a huge difference to someone who’s feeling lonely. “Some of the people we met said they’d be sitting alone at home if these groups didn’t exist. They really do brighten lives and the money we’ve raised together will help more people benefit from them. They’re always looking for volunteers, so if you’re interested you could contact your nearest group.” Community Lincs helps people set up their own volunteer-run Good Neighbour Scheme in their area to provide transport, help and friendship. It’s received more than £78,000 which was presented at a meeting for Gosberton and Quadring Good Neighbour Scheme, one of the newest to have been set up. Chief Executive of Community Lincs Gail Jackson said the money would help sustain and develop its services. “We’re thrilled to have been chosen as Lincolnshire Co-op’s Community Champions. This support will enable the Community Lincs Good Neighbour scheme to thrive for years to come; allowing us to develop new schemes and work with more communities across Lincolnshire,” she said. Jane Brigginshaw is Chairperson and Volunteer Co-ordinator for Gosberton and Quadring Good Neighbour Scheme, which after months of preparation is now serving the area and has been given £500 from the fundraising total. “It’s fantastic to see local people supporting us with some more funds to change people’s lives and strengthen the community, and help people to take ownership of their community. This money is also a great boost for our volunteers, who’ve worked so hard to make this scheme happen,” she said. Friendship at Home provides workshops and sessions, from bingo to belly dancing, to help over 50s stay fit and have fun. It’s received almost £12,000 which will help more people access its services including its summer and Christmas parties. Operational Manager Lyse Stephenson said: “We’re all astounded and can’t wait to share the news with all our members. It will make such a difference to so many older people, not only at our two parties but on a weekly basis as we plan to use the money to continue and expand a social group of ours in Cleethorpes “The two parties make a huge difference to so many – each is attended by 150 older people – and we’re hoping to bring more of our members to them and reduce any barriers by doing things like providing transport.” Newark Live at Home is run by charity MHA and helps people’s independence and wellbeing with activities, support and befriending, and is receiving a £6,580 donation from the fundraising. A total of 60 smaller groups, from Age UK groups to local lunch clubs across the area, are also now receiving their share of the total.