Charities benefit from lottery fund

A charity that uses the heritage of sport and memories to tackle dementia, depression and loneliness in older people is among 588 organisations sharing £19 million from the Big Lottery Fund.

Sporting Memories Network, which has 80 groups across the UK, will use the funding to train more than 100 volunteers in communities in London, Manchester, Yorkshire, Bristol and the South West to establish 64 new groups in partnership with sports clubs, libraries, housing associations and universities. Younger people will work alongside older people recording personal sporting memories, researching local sporting heritage and getting involved in indoor game.

The charity supports older people by engaging them in social activities and helping recall memories of watching or playing sport. It receives £483,373 to establish more groups which use reminiscence, storytelling and indoor sports to engage older people, mainly men, to help them gain new friendships and improved confidence and health.

Tony Jameson-Allen, Co-founder, Sporting Memories Network, said: “There is growing evidence of the negative impact loneliness and isolation has on our health and wellbeing, particularly in the case of older people. We use the fantastic history and heritage of sport as a focus to bring together groups of older men to have fun sharing their sporting memories, making new friends and to exercise and play sports. Whilst piloting this approach we have also involved schools, colleges and youth organisations to organise and run community events with sports clubs, sports stars and older people.”

Lyn Cole, Big Lottery Fund, England Grant Making Director, said: “We've learned that social isolation is bad for health, with links to chronic conditions and increased mortality. With more people living well into their eighties, it's more important than ever that projects such as Sporting Memories can unlock precious memories of excitement, joy, near-misses and triumph, to help promote healthy ageing. This is an excellent example of the kind of projects we fund - people working together, often as volunteers, to help others in their community gain the skills they need to get the most out of their lives.”

Another England-wide grant being awarded today is to the single parent charity Gingerbread which will use £496,553 to continue and expand its helpline and information service which will help more than one million people over three years. Single parents with the most complex and multiple problems will be supported by the helpline which is staffed by specialist workers offering advice tailored to their specific circumstances. Areas of advice will include child maintenance, family access arrangements, childcare, welfare benefits, tax credits, employment, housing and debt.

Today’s awards have been made through the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All and Reaching Communities programmes. Awards for All provides grants between £300 and £10,000 to voluntary and community organisations and Reaching Communities awards larger grants of £10,000 and above for more long term projects.

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