£500k government boost for projects to help the elderly

James Noble

James Noble

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Projects to help the elderly recover after falls, save money on heating and combat loneliness are to get a share of more than half a million pounds to boost their work.

The money – totalling almost £553,000 – will help increase the number of older people cared for at home rather than in hospitals or residential units, and was allocated by the city council through the Scottish Government’s Change Fund.

The biggest beneficiary was Edinburgh Leisure for its falls prevention and management service, which keeps people active after a fall to try to prevent further injury.

The scheme, which will kick off next year, received £50,000.

There was also £38,000 given to the Heat Heroes project, run by Newhaven charity Changeworks, which will train volunteers to help the over-65s cut their heating bills.

The charity’s head of projects, Sam Mills, said: “We’re delighted. Almost half the pensioners in Edinburgh cannot afford to keep their home warm. We will be providing them with energy saving advice and looking at opportunities to make their homes warmer.”

In all, the fund has made 19 grants, ranging in value from £14,149 to £50,000.

They include those targeting specific groups of elderly people, such as the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Age Capacity Building Project, run by the LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing, in Howe Street, and the Older Disabled People Project run by the Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living, in Albion Road.

City Health and Social Care Leader, councillor Paul Edie, said the Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council (EVOC) had helped distribute the money: “With EVOC taking the lead to process the fund it’s great that our health and social care department, and NHS Lothian, have been able to distribute this money to some very worthwhile projects. The Changeworks money is particularly relevant at this time of year when older people are worrying about paying their bills and struggling to heat their homes.”

Professor Alex McMahon, acting director of strategic planning at NHS Lothian, said: “We are committed to delivering high-quality healthcare services for people across the Lothians.

“This funding will play a crucial role in providing increased health and social care for the most vulnerable people and demonstrates our partnership working, and how it can benefit all of our local communities.”

‘It made a big difference’

HUNDREDS of elderly people across the city are already benefiting from the work of organisations that have just received a welcome funding boost.

Among them is James Noble, 79, from Leith, who was recently helped by an energy adviser from Newhaven-based charity Changeworks.

He was given help after his gas bills were far higher than he expected for his one-bedroom flat.

He said: “She came round and talked to me and saw the tariff I got, and she phoned the gas people while she was there and they put me on to the cheaper rate.

“That made a big difference – it saved me about £25 a month.”

Mr Noble also welcomed the charity’s funding boost.

He said: “I think it’s very good news.”