Norwich pensioners living in poverty will get help and support thanks to Norfolk Freemasons
More than 200 local older people living in poverty will receive vital support thanks to a grant of £52,000 from Norfolk Freemasons to the Age UK Norwich charity.
Norwich has around 30,000 residents aged over 65 who experience poverty, isolation and ill-health – living in some of the most deprived wards in the county. In these areas, life expectancy is nearly a decade (8.8 years) lower when compared to other areas in the city. Age UK Norwich is targeting these areas as a priority, helping with financial, housing and debt as well as improving health, wellbeing and independence.
Thanks to the Freemasons’ grant, Age UK will be targeting Lakenham ward in the south east of the city, one of Norwich’s most deprived areas. The charity will form a multi-disciplinary team to target older people within the ward, providing vital information and advice, especially in the following areas:
Statutory and civic benefit entitlement—e.g. pension credit, single occupancy housing tax discounts, Personal Attendance Allowance for carers.
Encouraging and reporting housing or landlord issues—experience shows, this is a common area of issue for older people living in poor living conditions who feel unable to challenge issues.
Promoting Health Coaching Support—raising the profile of the charity’s Health Coaching programme and Healthy Ageing campaign.
Providing access to Hardship Support—coordinating with local agencies, such as Norwich Foodbank, and Norwich Credit Union to provide emergency hardship support for people in financial crisis. For example, purchasing equipment, digital enablement, fuel and food vouchers.
Community Solutions—providing volunteer connection to help those who live alone to re-connect to their community and have additional support for activities for health or wellbeing. This includes activity befriending, companionship and support for shopping or transport.
The new Age UK team will work together to raise the visibility of health and welfare through telephone, postal and direct community marketing; and coordinating engagement with referral partnerships such as One Norwich Primary Care Network, Dementia Cafes and other charities.
Based on their previous work and experience, Age UK expects that 90 per cent of older people with whom they will be working will feel more confident about dealing with their problems; 50 per cent will feel more able to do the things they enjoyed; 60 per cent will feel less isolated or lonely; 66 per cent will feel able to sleep better; and 90 per cent will feel their health and wellbeing has improved.
The grant from Norfolk Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Jamie Price, Head of Operations at Age UK Norwich, said:
“We’re very grateful to Norfolk Freemasons for their generous grant which will give Age UK Norwich a unique opportunity to make a real difference to some of the most vulnerable people in the city. This is vital work helping these older residents in our community with health and wellbeing at a very difficult time.”
Stephen Allen, Head of Norfolk Freemasons, said:
I’m really pleased we’ve been able to help Age UK Norwich. With over a quarter of the city’s residents over 65 years experiencing poverty and all the problems that go with it, there’s never been such a need for the services this excellent charity provides.”