Seniors and Polish families share Big Lottery Fund

Kathy Elliott, Mary Halligan, Su Millar, Vicki Bradley and Caroline Heywood from LifeCare. Picture: Jon Savage

Kathy Elliott, Mary Halligan, Su Millar, Vicki Bradley and Caroline Heywood from LifeCare. Picture: Jon Savage

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TWO community organisations based in the Capital will share more than half a million pounds thanks to the Big ­Lottery Fund.

LifeCare, which reaches out to the hundreds of isolated older people living in the city, will benefit from an award of £350,000.

The cash will go towards their Vintage Vibes project, which ­offers long-term befriending ­opportunities through home visits, friendship groups and days out.

Meanwhile, the Polish Family Support Centre will receive £228,069 towards its work fighting disadvantage, social isolation and helping 
newcomers forge closer links with their communities.

Su Millar, LifeCare’s chief executive, said the project aimed to raise awareness of the hundreds of older people in Edinburgh facing later life alone.

She added: “This means they have no-one close with whom to share the happy times or to go to for support when life becomes difficult.

“For those aged 60 or over, being able to talk and laugh with someone you can call a friend is so important to their quality of life.

“Our vision with Vintage Vibes is to provide volunteers, who will include families and pet owners, to participate in visiting elderly people.”

“We would also like to encourage groups which allow older people to mix with different ages and friendship groups.

“We look forward to working with the Broomhouse Centre and using this grant to provide these vital services in the community.”

Andrew Kocaj, director of the Polish Family Support Centre, said he was “thrilled” to receive the grant.

He said the money would make “a huge difference” to the organisation, allowing it to help around 300 families.

The project aims to help disadvantaged Polish children and young people, and provide a comprehensive level of family support to parents bringing up children, in order to enhance family life.

Polish people will now be able to access services as a family unit in one place and be able to receive even more help and advice.

“We are privileged to receive this grant and become part of the Big Lottery Fund family and help change the lives of people in need,” Mr Kocaj added.

The awards, have been made through the Big Lottery’s Investing in Communities programme, which aims to bring real improvements to people’s lives when they need it most.

Big Lottery Fund Scotland chair Maureen McGinn said: “The central theme at the heart of both projects is integration.

“Older people, who may feel isolated or lonely in their community, will now be able to choose from a range of befriending opportunities to help them feel more connected to the outside world – while families throughout the city will have access to a package of support to help them cope with the difficulties faced when moving to a new community.”