Islanders To Benefit From ‘Heart of Isle of Wight’ Funding Tackling Loneliness and Social Isolation

Grants of £3,113 have been awarded to two local community groups from the ‘Heart of Isle of Wight’ Fund, set up by the Isle of Wight Community Foundation (IWCF) to tackle the issues of isolation and loneliness affecting older people on the Island. East Cowes residents will soon be benefiting from craft activities at the Community Spirited Café, while creative Pan Together members will be able to join a new art club and show off their skills at an art exhibition.

Community Spirited Café who are based at East Cowes Pavilion have received a grant of £2,100 to purchase craft materials and equipment. The volunteer-led group formed recently in 2018, with the purpose of creating and making things to sell, through crafts such as crochet and knitting. The club provides members with a feeling of self-worth and a sense of pride through getting involved in productive and creative activities, while also providing an opportunity for members to mix with new people, meet new friends and catch up on the latest news over a cup of tea.

Jane Goddard who runs Community Spirited Café commented “This grant will make a huge difference and will allow us to run an outreach programme for those residents who are not confident enough yet to join our Knit and Natter Club. This will help us to bridge the gap for people who are lonely and isolated to help them feel like they have a worthwhile purpose in life.”

Pan Together in Newport has received a grant of £1,013 to run a free art club at Downside Community Centre for local residents aged over 50, bringing those with common interests together for some company and a natter over a coffee, while getting involved in arty activities. Funds will be used to cover room hire, to provide refreshments and to supply equipment and materials. An art exhibition is planned for the end of the project, for members to display their creative work, and a daytrip will be organised to visit Quay Arts in Newport to widen the aspirations and horizons of those taking part.

Rachel Thomson, Community Centre Manager at Pan Together added “Thanks to this grant, the art club will give local people the chance to get together regularly in friendly, fun and spirit-lifting sessions. According to the latest data, 63% of pensioner households in the area are single pensioners, and almost one third are pension credit claimants, so the club offers an opportunity for residents to learn new skills, while meeting new people. We hope that those coming along to the club will also then be able to benefit from the other facilities we have on offer at our warm and welcoming centre, which will boost community participation and engagement.

Grant Cornwell MBE, Chief Executive for IWCF said: “We are delighted to provide this first round of funding under the Heart of Isle of Wight Fund, set up to make a positive difference to the lives of older people on the Island. We know how detrimental loneliness can be to a persons’ health and wellbeing and it is vital that we support the local community groups and volunteers working so hard to reach older people. We know that some organised company and planned activities, such as those offered by the Community Spirited Café and Pan Together can make all the difference to what can otherwise be an extremely lonely time for a person living alone. We are asking local businesses and those that are able to join with us and support the needs of disadvantaged people living in Island communities.”

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