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Blog: Granting success for Age Scotland member groups

Published on 18 November 2020 11:25 AM

It’s never been more important to ensure that everyone feels connected and part of their community.

Around the country, many Age Scotland member groups and organisations have risen magnificently to this challenge by adjusting their activities, learning new skills and developing much needed services to help older people navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, these are tough times in the charity and community sector - particularly for small, community organisations with limited reserves. In an effort to provide practical help, Age Scotland has been able to offer small one-off grant payments to assist members in withstanding the damaging impacts of this pandemic, and to continue delivering vital activities and service in our urban, rural and island communities.

During the summer, 76 Age Scotland member groups and organisations all across the country - from Hoy in the Orkney Islands to Duns in the Scottish Borders and Wanlockhead in Dumfries & Galloway - shared £90,000 of funding made available through the charity’s Health and Wellbeing grants programme, with grants awarded ranging from £100 to £2500.

How are Age Scotland members in your area putting funding to use?

Some of our members needed grant funding to offset the loss of income of their normal fundraising activities. We’ve been glad to make a contribution to staffing costs, utility bills, and internet connections in the coming months.

Others required funds to adapt premises and facilities to improve accessibility and meet new and increased health and safety requirements.

For example, the Bo’ness Community Bus in the Falkirk area will be using their Age Scotland grant to fit protective screens and defogging equipment so they can resume some operations, while Ferryhill Men’s Shed in Aberdeenshire will be installing handwashing facilities and new tool storage cupboards. The shedders plan to group themselves into bubbles, with each bubble using a separate cupboard to reduce tool sharing.

Glasgow’s Alive and Kicking group was awarded funding to adapt the entrance to their building, and install barrier systems and hand sanitiser dispensers to increase COVID security and Boleskine Community Care Forum in Highland will use their grant to establish a mobile hairdressing unit for older villagers in this part of rural Highland.

A home-made cake or food delivery and a chat on the doorstep can make the world of difference to someone who is feeling alone. Though the Golspie Lunch Club in Sutherland is not currently able to meet, with their Age Scotland grant they are delivering a weekly lunchtime fish supper to members’ homes. Glasgow’s Golden Generation and Clydebank Golden Friendships have consistently provided lunches and essential shopping supplies to older people throughout the pandemic and each received small grants to contribute to this important work.

Barrmill Jolly Beggars Club in North Ayrshire have a lovely description for their deliveries – these ‘parcels of kindness’ comprise sweets, magazines and crossword puzzles. Also aiming to keep members occupied, the Islay and Jura Senior Citizens Association will use their grant to distribute Activity Boxes including knitting and crafts materials, puzzles and challenges catering for islanders’ interests.

Members in many parts the country have been awarded small grants to help with the costs of telephone befriending, sending cards, and newsletters to keep their members informed about news and to show their love and care.

While holding indoor gatherings is not currently possible, some of our members have been looking to maximise outdoor spaces available to them. The Harbourlea Residents Group in Anstruther received a grant to create a sensory garden and vegetable growing space at their sheltered housing complex. This will provide a safe outdoor space for them to meet and spend time together, albeit physically distanced. The green-fingered efforts of gardening projects in Dumfries & Galloway, Inverclyde, Midlothian and Stirling are also being supported.

With technology becoming key to keeping many people connected over the past few months, but not everyone has the equipment or expertise necessary to make this possible. Thankfully, the Health and Wellbeing grants programme is enabling many older people to make use of technology to stay in touch, pursue interests and to keep fit and active.

A number of grants were awarded to help members purchase tablets, laptops and other IT equipment, zoom software packages and wifi connections, and to employ sessional staff to help older people to get on-line.

We were also able to put funding towards delivering online activities such as seated exercise classes and yoga. Kirrie Connections in Angus was awarded a grant provide a programme of arts activities for older people living with dementia and their carers to take part in from their homes.
Older people’s groups and organisations are doing fantastic work around Scotland and it has been a privilege to assist our members with their activities through our Health and Wellbeing Grants Programme.

We were inundated with applications and, while we were unable to help everyone on this occasion, we hope to reopen the programme in 2021. In the meantime, you can expect to hear plenty of success stories from our brilliant member groups as their projects become a reality.

For further information on the Age Scotland Health and Wellbeing Grants Programme, or for further information on alternative funding sources for your group, please contact Age Scotland’s Community Development Team.
Tel: 0333 323 2400 Email: members@agescotland.org.uk

The Community grants programme was made possible by a number of Corporate supporters, including long-term Age Scotland partner Sky Cares.

Advantage Magazine

Advantage is the Age Scotland magazine that provides information, inspiration and ideas to empower Scotland's older people, their families and carers.

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