National Lottery funding to reduce loneliness in Sandwell

Older people in Sandwell are set to benefit from National Lottery funding, thanks to the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. 

Over £300,000 of National Lottery funding will see Murray Hall Community Trust, an established charity in Sandwell, work in partnership with Agewell to reduce loneliness and isolation by building stronger and more supportive communities locally for the next 3 years.

The new service will be called SPARCs, a social prescribing model for building active resilience communities, which will enable people aged over 65yrs across Sandwell to access support and services, such as, Navigator support to introduce people to different community support. Using the National Lottery grant, SPARCs will also work with community groups to build capacity within their groups, for example, with skills and information and where necessary will create new activities, including friendship groups.  

The UK’s population is growing, resulting in people living longer with 18% of the population currently aged 65 and over (ONS, July 2017). With an increasingly older population, it is important that activities are varied and wide to provide the opportunities for people to join in activities to make informed choices for their health and wellbeing, for example tea dances.

SPARCs will encourage people feel part of their community by taking part in a range of activities they enjoy. Volunteers will also be recruited to support people, helping to increase their confidence. The aim is to help people feel better supported, less isolated and encourage them to remain active and well.

Manjula Patel, CEO at Murray Hall Community Trust, said: “We’re really looking forward to getting started on this project next month. Thanks to National Lottery players, we’ll be able to help older people in Sandwell feel less isolated and lonely, by bringing communities together to make new connections and enjoy fun activities.”

James Harcourt, England Grant-Making Director at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Great community projects like SPARCs are what National Lottery funding is all about. We can see how the money raised by players for good causes helps to bring ideas to life and gives people the opportunity to work together for the good of their community. Whether from a village, town or city, we’re proud that our funding supports people who have identified what matters to them and their community and who want to make a positive change.”

More details will be provided when the service goes live next month.

Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, our funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 we have awarded £8.5 billion to projects that improve the lives of millions of people.

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Murray Hall Community Trust (MHCT)

MHCT is an established registered charity based in the West Midlands. Through community development MHCT aims to promote peoples’ health and wellbeing by tackling the challenges of inequality; advocating on their behalf; facilitating empowerment; as well as pioneering new solutions and delivering innovative services to people.

Agewell CIC

Agewell CIC is a social enterprise led by older people for the benefit of older people.  Agewell believes that older people should be regarded as valued and respected members of the community with the right to participate in every aspect of community life.