Fund supports age friendly activities

From an arts group to a shed that gives cancer patients a space to see their pets, Ageing Better Middlesbrough awarded £30,000 to more than 30 community projects and activities last year.

The Age Friendly Fund was set up to help older people live happy and healthy lives. Community groups and individuals in Middlesbrough were invited to apply for up to £3,000.

Ageing Better Middlesbrough Age Friendly Officer Anya Deputat said: “We wanted to help people come together and make positive changes in the town, no matter how big or small.

“We had so many amazing applications and were really pleased to be able to support more than 30 groups in this area.

“It has been great to visit the projects and see the impact of the funding.

“The groups are often led by volunteers who give time and energy to their communities.”

Lauren Farrow, Business Manager for the Holistic Care Centre at The James Cook University Hospital, said: “We wanted to do something for people who have been stuck in hospital for weeks or months on end, who were missing their own pets.

“The Age Friendly Fund helped us buy a shed so that patients can actually spend time with their pets.

“We look after the pets during their time here and ensure the bond between them and their owner continues, despite their illness.”

Rachel Gault, Development and Engagement Officer from Community Ventures in Thorntree, said: “We were given Age Friendly funding to support an art project and a coffee afternoon.

“A lot of the people who have taken part in the activities have grown in confidence, made friends and most importantly, got out of the house when they normally would not.”

Lesley Duffield, Treasurer for Trinity Methodist Church in Middlesbrough, said: “We received sports equipment, tables and chairs.

“We have lunches, toddler groups, cake decorating sessions, flower arranging, a food bank and table tennis as part of our ongoing activity.

“Numbers keep growing week on week, but we couldn’t have facilitated any of it without the funding.”

Ageing Better Middlesbrough is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. It is working to reduce loneliness and isolation for people in Middlesbrough aged 50 and over.