Lincolnshire Co-op raised more than £150k for groups helping older people

Money from the carrier bag levy and Community Champions scheme will help 63 organisations in its trading area

Charities and groups working with older people will share a £153,000 windfall from a fundraising campaign by the Lincolnshire Co-op. 

The fundraising drive will help 63 friendship groups and lunch clubs, at a time when loneliness and isolation is affecting health and wellbeing for many older people.

Local charities and lunch clubs provide support and help at home, fun activities and friendship, but they need fundraising donations and dedicated volunteers.

A donation was made through Lincolnshire’s Community Champions scheme each time a member shopped in one of the society’s outlets from December until March. More than 156,000 members helped raise the total, and proceeds from the carrier bag levy and staff fundraising also went into the pot.

Now charities Community Lincs in Lincolnshire, Friendship at Home in North East Lincolnshire and Newark Live at Home, plus 60 other smaller groups and clubs across the area, are receiving a share of the money. 

The co-op’s community engagement manager Sam Turner said: “These charities, groups and lunch clubs are a lifeline – there’s just no other way to describe them.

“The services they provide vary from transport to health appointments and support with tricky household tasks to the chance to keep active and have fun. Even a simple chat with a volunteer makes a huge difference to someone who’s feeling lonely.

“Some of the people we met said they’d be sitting alone at home if these groups didn’t exist. They’re always looking for volunteers, so if you’re interested you could contact your nearest group.”

Community Lincs, which helps people set up their own volunteer-run Good Neighbour Scheme to provide transport, help and friendship, received more than £78,000. Its chief executive Gail Jackson said: “We’re thrilled … this support will enable the Community Lincs Good Neighbour scheme to thrive for years to come; allowing us to develop new schemes and work with more communities.”

Gosberton and Quadring Good Neighbour Scheme has been given £500 from the fundraising total. Chair and volunteer co-ordinator Jane Brigginshaw said: “It’s fantastic to see local people supporting us with some more funds to change people’s lives and strengthen the community, and help people to take ownership of their community.” 

Gosberton and Quadring Good Neighbour Scheme Chairperson Jane Brigginshaw, Community Lincs Chairperson Lorraine Bellis, Lincolnshire Co-op’s Gosberton Food Store Community Liaison Representative Sam Mumby, Vice President Steve Hughes, Head of Marketing Laura Dunne and Gosberton Food Store Manager Jamie Taylor, and Community Lincs Community Development Worker Steve Mason

Friendship at Home provides workshops and sessions, from bingo to belly dancing, to help over-50s stay fit and have fun. It has received almost £12,000 which will help more people access its services including its summer and Christmas parties.

Operational manager Lyse Stephenson said: “We’re all astounded and can’t wait to share the news with all our members. It will make such a difference to so many older people, not only at our two parties but on a weekly basis as we plan to use the money to continue and expand a social group of ours in Cleethorpes.

Newark Live at Home is run by charity MHA and helps people’s independence and wellbeing with activities, support and befriending, and is receiving a £6,580 donation from the fundraising. A total of 60 smaller groups, from Age UK groups to local lunch clubs across the area, are also now receiving their share of the total.

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