Silver lining for older people
By Alex Dodds, Policy and Learning Adviser
Last October the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) set the challenge to organisations across England to pioneer ways to help vulnerable older people deal more effectively with life-changing events.
I’m pleased to say that groups rose to the Silver Dreams Fund challenge magnificently and today we are announcing the 37 successful projects sharing in over £6 million. They are addressing a wide range of issues that impact on older people including bereavement, HIV/Aids, end of life care, reducing isolation, alcohol abuse and many more.
The projects will be tested over the next 12 to 18 months and will then have the opportunity to apply to become one of five flagship projects.
Another bold and exciting development for BIG has been the media partnership with the Daily Mail, which was identified to promote and raise awareness of the Silver Dreams Fund because of its long-running, award-winning ‘Dignity for the Elderly’ campaign.
Older people, selected in partnership with the Daily Mail, joined a panel of England Committee members and external experts that decided on the 37 successful projects. You can read more about these awards on the Daily Mail website.
Bel Mooney, Daily Mail columnist and Silver Dreams Fund committee member, said: “When I first wrote about Silver Dreams last October, I couldn’t have known how exciting the whole initiative would prove to be. So many imaginative and important projects were made known to us. As one of the Committee I was amazed and impressed by the wealth of energy now being directed towards the needs of older people and made possible by the Big Lottery Fund.”
One of the successful projects is Winchester Area Community Action’s ‘Elder Crafts and English Exchange’. This unique project enables Gurkha elders to come together with older people in the Hampshire community in an informal and enjoyable atmosphere, sharing language, arts and crafts activities. The project promotes diversity and recognises that everyone has something unique to contribute.
Actress and campaigner for the rights of Gurkhas and their families, Joanna Lumley, said: “It was so moving to read of the Big Lottery Fund’s decision to award this project a large grant to make life better for the elderly Gurkhas and the British community within the Hampshire area.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to hear of this far-seeing and great-hearted initiative. Nothing but good will come from it, and it will stand as a benchmark attitude for our country to follow, in welcoming people from faraway lands, whose needs and ambitions are nevertheless exactly the same as ours.”
To view the full list of Silver Dreams awards announced today, visit BIG’s newsroom.
Hear from two of the projects receiving Silver Dreams funding