Hundreds of lonely older people in Cornwall will be helped to become more connected to their communities, thanks to a grant of almost £78,000 from the Cornwall Freemasons.
The grant will fund a specially-designed programme which will provide over 200 older people in the area with new opportunities to build social connections and relationships. It will also give more vulnerable older people a link to the community through a Community Companions volunteer who will visit them at home, supporting them with practical help and getting out and about.
Loneliness and social isolation can affect everyone, but older people are particularly vulnerable after the loss of friends and family or reduced mobility.
Surveys conducted by Royal Voluntary Service amongst older people in Cornwall found that just over three quarters (77 per cent) are experiencing loneliness and two thirds (66 per cent) feel they need more help with getting to GP appointments or social activities.
The grant from Cornwall Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
"We’re very grateful to Cornwall Freemasons for their generous grant, which will help us build on our existing work supporting older people in Cornwall, organise monthly social activities and recruit volunteers to provide companionship and practical support to older people in their homes."
Lisa Knight, Operations Manager for Royal Voluntary Service
"I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Royal Voluntary Service with their excellent programme of support for older people. Loneliness and social isolation is a real problem in our society, having a serious impact on physical and mental health and quality of life. Ending the social isolation of older people is a major priority for both Royal Voluntary Service and Freemasons."
Stephen Pearn, Provincial Grand Master for Cornwall Freemasons
"Being involved and working with so many different charities within our local communities here in Cornwall, has been an absolute pleasure for me. This latest grant will be a significant boost for the Royal Voluntary Service, here in Cornwall. This will enable them to reach more individuals normally confined to their homes and socially isolated. I’m delighted this grant has been approved to assist the Roy-al Voluntary Service."
Mike Pritchard, Provincial Grand Charity Steward of Cornwall Freemasons
The Masonic Charitable Foundation is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country. Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the MCF awards millions of pounds each year to local and national charities that help vulnerable people, advance medical research and provide opportunities for young people.
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Image: Centre left standing - Sue Sutherland-Clarke, Royal Voluntary Service Volunteer Coordinator; centre seated - Stephen C Pearn, The Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Cornwall Freemasons; centre standing - Mike Pritchard, Provincial Grand Charity Steward for the Province of Cornwall Freemasons; centre right standing - Mandy Turner, Royal Voluntary Service Community & Development Engagement Worker; Mary Jury, Royal Voluntary Service volunteer.
Back Row standing - Pictured together with Tammy Etherington, Community Matron; local Royal Voluntary Service volunteers; far left standing - Mr Ian Henwood, the charity administrator for the Province of Cornwall Freemasons.