Edinburgh, July 25 2011 - An innovative project which helps disadvantaged older black and ethnic minority people has received Lottery funding of almost £500,000, enabling the project which is supported by Trust, Hanover and Bield housing associations to continue improving older people’s lives.
The Older People Services Project, which is active throughout Scotland, is focused on working closely with older people, their families and community groups to help them to learn about and access a range of vital benefits and services to which they are entitled.
The project provides expert advice and help on how to obtain such things as pension benefits to reduce financial stress, improvements to living environments , help with heating and energy costs, and better social connections. The project also provides support and guidance on more general age-related issues such as dementia or coping with loneliness and isolation.
The project has been granted an award of £476,029 towards the cost of running the project for five years, with the ongoing support of the three housing associations. The project, which has received the money from the Big Lottery Fund’s Investing in Communities Fund, will employ two multi-lingual staff to work directly with older people.
Rohini Sharma Joshi, Trust’s Equalities Manager who will be managing this project on behalf of Bield, Hanover and Trust Housing Associations said: “The three Housing Associations are delighted to have Lottery funding for the Older People Services Project. This is part of a wider action initiative which has a strong track record for delivering tangible improvements in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable older people from black and minority ethnic communities. This new funding will enable us to transform the lives of many more older people in Scotland for the better.”
She added: “Older people have a right to live their lives in dignity and comfort and with Lottery funding our outreach workers will be able to provide the extra help that many marginalised older people need to access appropriate benefits and services. We are planning to reach at least 1,000 older people during the course of this project.”
The Older People Services Project has already achieved considerable success in the three years since it was founded, outperforming its original targets, both in terms of the numbers of people it has helped across Scotland and also in the value of the entitlements it has raised on behalf of people it has assisted.
One couple who were beneficiaries of the project commented on the value of being supported by trained staff who spoke their language. They said: “Because both of us are not able to speak English well, the project helped us to express ourselves fully, resulting in us getting what we needed from service providers.”
Another beneficiary commented: “More people will need this project. It is very important to people like me.”