We are absolutely thrilled to announce that the mental wellbeing of older people in our community has received a fantastic boost! The Big Lottery Fund has awarded FDAMH’s Third Age Befriending project Â£240,132 to guarantee the continuation of the project for a further three years. Third Age Befriending provides one-to-one befriending services to older people, as well as running social groups. These work to build lost confidence and encourage people to reconnect with their communities and interests.
Our Third Age Befriending Project had to cease taking referrals in 2014 as existing funding approached its end. FDAMH’s Board recognised the extent to which the project was enhancing the lives of those it supported and ensured that the project could continue while new funding was sourced. Project Co-ordinator, Julie Law, has been counting the sleeps until the deadline for hearing about the outcome of the funding application to the Big Lottery Fund! Julie says “This funding will mean that we can continue to support and encourage a significant number of older people in Falkirk, who find themselves isolated and lonely, or experiencing high levels of anxiety, which in turn limits their opportunities to lead fulfilling lives in their later years. Soon we will be able to accept new referrals to one-to-one befriending, where our team of dedicated volunteers work with individuals to overcome the acute anxiety they experience, leaving them fearful of going out and effectively housebound and isolated. We will also continue to provide small, friendly social groups who meet regularly, again with a trained volunteer, to have lunch together in local cafÃ©s and restaurants where they can chat, exchange news and eat good food together as well as enjoy short trips out to places of mutual interest such as Callendar House Museum. The groups themselves decide on a year-long programme of trips, lunches and events and our volunteers work hard to ensure that everyone is able to fully enjoy the experiences. We will be developing new working relationships with other local organisations, such as the newly launched U3A and Make It Happen, to provide a well-rounded and easily accessible range of services that work tirelessly to alleviate the alarming rise in anxiety, depression and loneliness in our ever-increasing older population. We are keen to encourage volunteers of all ages and recognise the immense value in peer volunteering, which benefits both the recipient and the volunteer.”
We would like to extend our sincere gratitude and congratulations to the volunteers on this team who have made the project such a success during its first two years and who will be vital to continue the great outcomes that this project achieves.
Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “I am delighted that Falkirk’s Mental Health Association is one of the latest groups to receive an award from our Investing in Communities fund. This is life changing money that will benefit those people and communities most in need. This grant will make a big difference where it is needed most and I wish Falkirk’s Mental Health Association every success as it goes on to develop and expand its project.”
Now that funding is established we will be able to start recruiting and training new volunteers and developing the existing service. We will publicise the opening of the project to new referrals as soon as this is possible. If you are interested in volunteering with this project please get in touch with our Volunteer Co-ordinator, Morag Fullard, on 01324 671600 or visit our volunteering page and complete an application form!