Funding to help tackle social isolation and loneliness

Funding to help tackle social isolation and loneliness

Christina McKelvie

Projects supporting people most at risk of social isolation and loneliness will receive a share of almost £1 million in support funding, the Scottish Government has announced.

The money will help to provide warm spaces, hot meals, group activities and fuel payments to people most at risk of isolation including older people, young parents, carers and disabled people.

Organisations to receive grants/funds include Age Scotland, who will continue to deliver them ‘Keeping The Doors Open’ grants programme, and Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland which is recruiting Urdu and Punjabi-speaking volunteers to make Kindness Calls.

Equalities and older people’s minister Christina McKelvie said: “Social isolation and loneliness can affect anyone, especially at this time of year when people can struggle to get outside and socialise. The pandemic and the cost of living crisis have increased isolation for some people, including young people, carers and disabled people.

“The funding will be a lifeline for a range of organisations who are helping to keep people connected during this challenging time.

“This fund is just one of the many crucial steps that we are taking to tackle social isolation and loneliness as part of our plan, A Connected Scotland.”

Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland’s chief executive Jane-Claire Judson said: “We know that living with a disability or long-term condition can be hugely isolating and that for those who are unable to read or communicate fluently in English, this isolation can be even more significant.

“This funding from the Scottish Government will greatly enhance the ability of our support services to reach non-English speaking and minority ethnic populations in Scotland to reduce isolation and loneliness.

“Ultimately, it will allow us to engage with and support more people across Scotland who are living with chest, heart and stroke conditions, better enabling them to live their lives to the full.”

Chief executive of Age Scotland Mark O’Donnell added: “Older people’s groups have an incredibly important role in communities across Scotland, supporting health and wellbeing, physical activity, tackling loneliness and food insecurity. Our research has identified that around 200,000 over-65s rely on groups like this but the impact of Covid-19 and spiralling inflation has meant that these lifelines have been facing incredible pressures to keeping their doors open. We’re incredibly grateful that the Scottish Government took notice of our research and our ask of greater financial support for older people’s groups.

“The funding will help many such groups and clubs meet the rising cost of energy bills, food, transport and venues to meet, ensuring that their members can stay connected and are able to be as well as they can be.”

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