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£25,000 grant from Freemasons for Age Concern Hampshire

by | Feb 8, 2022 | Community News

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.

Older people left isolated and afraid by pandemic will reconnect to the community thanks to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Freemasons grant to Age Concern.

More than 800 older people across the county who have become isolated following the COVID-19 lockdown will be helped to re-join the community thanks to a grant from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Freemasons to Age Concern Hampshire (ACH).

The £25,000 grant will support the charity’s Information and Wellbeing project, which gives telephone support, provides weekly social activities for older people and supports volunteering opportunities.

It also gives access to Community Information Volunteers who are located in rural and remote villages and are able to provide information about local support services, groups and tradespeople.

The number of older residents in Hampshire is high compared to the national average, with more than 20 per cent of people aged over 65 years.

Intervention to support health and wellbeing, while ageing, is key to enabling this group to live well independently, for longer, while preventing reliance on the NHS and social care services.

ACHs’ experience in supporting beneficiaries is invaluable to those who rely on over-the-phone and face-to-face communications – they logged over 1,400 enquiries between 2020 and 2021.

Between April and September 2021, volunteers spent approximately 364 hours supporting 188 clients with form filling services across Hampshire – including securing an impressive £229k in annual benefits.

ACH is committed to providing the best possible support and care to enable older people to live independently.

Staff and volunteers have the knowledge and experience to support the elderly community across Hampshire and surrounding areas and aim to provide access to the right resources and information to suit the needs of beneficiaries across physical, mental and financial health and wellbeing.

The grant from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Brogan Rehill – Head of Fundraising and Marketing from Age Concern Hampshire, said: “We’re very grateful to Hampshire Freemasons for their generous grant. 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. Our aim is to help them fully re-join the community once again.”

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.”