£75k help for Ilkeston charity proves you're never too old to learn!
AN Ilkeston charity has been awarded more than £75,000 to run a project to help elderly people learn new skills.
Community Concern Erewash has been given £75,500 to run its "Hopeful" project – which stands for Helping Older People Engage Finance, Upskilling, Learning/Lifestyles – for the next three years by the Lloyds TSB Foundation.
Bren Davies, chief executive of Community Concern Erewash, said: "This is fantastic news for us. It will allow us to help many more people in the community by giving them the skills to help themselves in different ways."
The charity will run workshops across Erewash from April to help people manage their finances, learn to live healthier lifestyles and interview skills, among others.
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The project is only part of the charity's work and funding is still needed for many other schemes which help more than 1,000 people every year.
Set up in 1992 as a luncheon club, Community Concern Erewash has expanded into a laundry, gardening, home renovations service and also delivered winter survival packs with hats and gloves over the winter.
Mrs Davies said that the number of residents using the service had increased by 61% over the past two years. She said: "We do far more than just put a lick of paint on people's walls, though.
"Our home comforts team makes homes easier for people to live in, allowing them to leave hospital quicker and stay in their own homes longer.
"Our befriending services – where volunteers visit isolated people in the community – are incredibly valuable.
"Sometimes it can be the only contact they have with anyone else for days or weeks at a time."
Audrey Skinner is one of users of the team. The 83-year-old, who lives in Poplar Way, said: "The team are just fantastic. I always have the tea on when they come and the work they do in the garden is great. If ever I am stuck with anything, I just give them a call, the team are wonderful."
But the services the team provides are under threat due to cash-flow difficulties.
Mrs Davies said: "We are currently waiting on £245,000 worth of funding from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund which we will hear about at the end of the month.
"We need this money to sustain and continue this vital service supporting some of the most vulnerable people in Erewash."
The charity is often the first port of call for people who have come out of hospital or have recently been bereaved and need practical help with everyday tasks.
Mrs Davies said: "If we do not secure this funding it will have a huge impact on the number of residents that we can help and support."
For more details on Community Concern's various schemes, call 0115 9444146 or go to www.communityconcern -erewash.co.uk.