£1.4m National Lottery boost gives older Scots a new lease of life

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National Lottery Community Fund gives out 16 grants to older people's groups across Scotland

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12th February 2019 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

Older people in many parts of Scotland are today celebrating a £1.4m National Lottery cash boost that will help them get out of their homes and into their communities for tea dances, lunch clubs, men’s sheds, fitness classes and more.

The cash goes to 16 community run projects – the first in Scotland to receive funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, previously known as the Big Lottery Fund, which rebranded at the end of January.

In Barrhead the local men’s shed is already changing lives and giving retired and often lonely people, a place to call home. The Barrhead Men’s Shed SCIO has now received £49,150, to expand its activities so that it can boost its membership from 50 to 80 people who will get the chance to learn and share new skills whilst building new friendships.

Barrhead Men’s Shed treasurer Ross McKemmie said: “Thanks to the National Lottery, this award will give us greater sustainability which allows us to reach further into our community and encourage more isolated men to come along to our shed.

“We have a great range of skills to pass on and our members get great satisfaction carrying out a range of services for the local community including children’s nurseries and care homes. Our members still have a lot to contribute and The Shed means a lot to them so it’s absolutely brilliant that we will be able to keep going well into the future and support even more people who need our help.”

In Musselburgh, The Hollies Day Care Centre provides a wide range of support for local people aged over 60. After an award of £120,000 the centre will add a daily lunch club, exercise classes and tea dances to the programme of activities they already have on offer.

Manager of The Hollies Day Centre Liz Shannon said: “The difference the award from The National Lottery Community Fund will make to the members and customers of the Hollies is immeasurable. It will allow us not only to maintain existing services but to expand what we already offer to the elderly population of Musselburgh and the surrounding areas.

“We will now be able to provide a programme of entertaining and structured activities for the over 60s in a warm, safe and comfortable environment.  This funding will help us to prevent social isolation and give them a place to meet friends and to make new ones.”

Lightburn Elderly Association Project Ltd (LEAP) picked up an award of £47,140 for a wide ranging programme of life-long learning classes and leisure activities for isolated older people aged over 50 in South Lanarkshire. Over the next three the project will help around 1,200 people to make new friends, learn new skills and support them back into their community again.

Catriona MacGregor, LEAP’s learning co-ordinator, said: “People come along because they want to fill their day or they feel they are becoming more cut off from their communities and being in a group changes all that.

“This funding will allow us to develop our programme into other areas of South Lanarkshire and will help even more people who might otherwise find themselves isolated and lonely.”

National Lottery Community Fund Scotland chair Maureen McGinn said: “Our name might have changed recently but our focus remains the same - funding projects which matter to people and communities.

Feelings of isolation or loneliness are not just something that affect one particular age group or generation but can become more acute in later life.  So I am delighted that some of this funding will go to projects supporting older people to engage with their local communities and also contribute to them using their skills and experience.”

Last year The National Lottery Community Fund (previously the Big Lottery Fund) gave out over £48m of National Lottery funding to community projects across Scotland. Over 1,130 projects benefitted from this, enabling people and communities to bring their ideas to life.