Steps to Funding has been supporting the work of older people’s groups in the Lisburn area. The project helps groups to access funding for local events and activities.
After recently attending a Steps to Funding workshop, Stephen Walker from Magheragall Friendship Club (a rural community group for older people) feels more confident about the funding application process which he believes can often be challenging, particularly for smaller groups.
‘Magheragall Friendship Club organises a range of activities for people over 50 including a Lunch Club, Seniors Club (incorporating craft and other activities), workshops and Out & About Club which organise trips to places of interest. We provide opportunities for local people to get out of the house, catch up with friends and neighbours, and enjoy each other’s company. Age NI says that loneliness is an increasing problem in later life with 1/3 of older people in NI saying that they feel lonely. A small group like ours can really help local older people feel less isolated and part of a welcoming, caring community. That’s why ensuring that the group receives funding is so important.’
‘I felt that I needed much more information to help me research and identify the right funding opportunities for our club. That’s why I attended one of the Steps to Funding workshops and it was a really positive experience. I didn’t just learn about the funding process, which in itself was useful, but I also gained a great deal of local knowledge. Attending the workshop opened doors I didn’t know were there! I met people from other local voluntary organisations, big and small, and gained from their knowledge and experience too. I didn’t realise just how informative the event would be and I would recommend other local groups to get involved.’
EJ Havlin, Age NI Development Manager responsible for the Steps to Funding project commented, ‘Too often smaller groups don’t know where to start to access the funding support that’s available. Steps to Funding workshops provide information and support and remove some of the confusion. It’s also great to hear from Stephen about how important interactions with other local groups have also been. Our workshops are proving to be a very positive opportunity to share information, experience and local knowledge.'
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