Grant supports older people's Village Agent scheme
Monday, 28 May 2012
Older people in rural parts of Hampshire will find it easier to get important information and be able to become more involved in their local community, thanks to a grant of £170,000 from Hampshire County Council to Age Concern Hampshire.
Age Concern Hampshire will use the grant to recruit and train local trusted members of the community as volunteer Village Agents. They will bridge the gap between local communities and statutory and voluntary organisations by providing older people and their families with information and support tailored to the needs of individuals, for example meals on wheels, blue badge applications, community transport, befriending schemes, Better Balance for Life exercise classes, silver surfer schemes to help with IT, as well as Home Safety checks thanks to training from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The grant will enable Age Concern Hampshire to train up to 45 new volunteers over the next three years. This in addition to money that is awarded to Age Concern for a county wide telephone information service.
Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Adult Social Care, Councillor Felicity Hindson, said: "There are a great many services available to help older people and their families, but they are often not aware of them, Village Agents will help them find the support they need.
"Age Concern Hampshire provides valuable locally based services that are rooted in the communities they serve and the County Council is delighted to support this wonderful initiative. After a successful trial we can already see that this early intervention enables older people to remain living independently in their own community with access to the services they require. It also encourages older people to become more involved in their local neighbourhoods building strong and cohesive rural communities."
Yvette Christian, Assistant Director Age Concern Hampshire, said: "Age Concern Hampshire is delighted with the news as it builds on existing services and gets them out into the rural communities of Hampshire."
Alan Edmunds, Age Concern Project Co-ordinator added: "The Village agent volunteers have provided so many splendid examples of how older people react to a friendly chat with someone they trust. They have already enabled so many local older people to access services or information that they may otherwise not have known about. This is excellent news for Hampshire."