National charity Friends of the Elderly has launched a fund with Sussex Community Foundation to back charities and community groups in Sussex supporting older people. Applications to receive funding are currently being accepted and assessed with a view to grants being awarded early next year.
The Friends of the Elderly Fund at Sussex Community Foundation will provide grants to charities and groups which help reduce loneliness, isolation and promote social engagement and befriending among older people in Sussex. The activities the fund will support include befriending, social groups, lunch clubs and outings – grants for these will range in size from £250 to £2,500 per successful application.
Sussex was chosen for the fund following Friends of the Elderly’s Be a Friend campaign pilot in the county last year. The Be a Friend campaign combats loneliness in the older population by encouraging people to get to know their older neighbours and members of their community. Be a Friend is a direct response to the charity’s research report, The Future of Loneliness, which found that 36% of older people in Sussex are affected by loneliness.
Jo O’Boyle, Director of Engagement at Friends of the Elderly, commented: “Following our Be a Friend pilot in Sussex last year it was clear that there are already lots of brilliant groups aiming to combat loneliness in the county. One clear set back these groups are experiencing is the lack of funds to support their much needed activities. We hope that this fund will allow some of these groups and projects to flourish to reach even more older people affected by loneliness in Sussex.”
“Sussex Community Foundation has given over 400 grants worth a total of almost £750,000 to groups supporting older people in Sussex over the last ten years,” said Kevin Richmond, Chief Executive of Sussex Community Foundation. “We are delighted to be working with Friends of the Elderly and I hope our work will result in many older people feeling less lonely and isolated in the future.”
Applications for the fund are being accepted by Sussex Community Foundation until 15 January 2016. More information can be found at http://www.sussexgiving.org.uk/.
 The Future of Loneliness, Friends of the Elderly and Future Foundation, 2014