New funding programme to tackle isolation of older people in Calderdale

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The Community Foundation for Calderdale has announced a £150,000 two-year funding programme to help groups and charities working to combat the isolation of older people.

Steve Duncan, chief executive of the foundation, said: “Tackling the isolation of older citizens across the borough has been high on the funding agenda of the Community Foundation for quite some time.

“So it is fantastic that now, thanks to a very generous donor who wishes to remain anonymous, and the Hall Benevolent Trust, we can announce this fund and make a difference locally.”

To develop the fund, the Community Foundation held a consultation event with public, private and voluntary sector organisations which work with or represent older people in the area.

The results of the consultation have formed the basis of the fund priorities - £40,000 has been allocated for community transport and access initiatives, another £40,000 will develop existing and new befriending schemes and £20,000 towards network and partnership support. A micro-commissioning fund of £50,000 has also been set up for three area-based, user led groups.

It’s hoped the foundation can attract a further £20,000 which will be made available to the programme.

Rob Billson, grants manager at the Community Foundation for Calderdale, said “There is a clear need for this funding in Calderdale, our socio economic research revealed over 24,000 residents in Calderdale are frequently experiencing isolation or loneliness.

“As we know loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health: research shows that lacking social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

“Social networks and friendships not only have an impact on reducing the risk of mortality or developing certain diseases, but they also help individuals to recover when they do fall ill.”

To make a contribution to the fund, or set up a fund of your own, contact the foundation on 01422 349700 or visit the website at

Applications are also invited via