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Inspiring Rutland Organisation Supports Elderly to be Independent

The Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation highlights the invaluable work done by Rutland Community Spirit.

Rutland Community Spirit was set up with local authority funding by the Rural Community Council in 2008, in order to alleviate practical and social problems faced by isolated older people living in the county. There are over 10,000 over-60s currently living in Rutland, and 1,700 of over-75s live alone, often in very rural areas.

The main principle of Rutland Community Spirit is to enable volunteers to provide low-level intervention on a needs-led basis so that older people can maintain independent living. Many of these elderly people are unaware of the services offered and what is available to them through the statutory authority.

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The charity offers one-to-one support, social events, day trips to the seaside and beauty spots, and good neighbour schemes. They also support people just out of hospital. They are often just ‘someone who pops in’ to make sure everything is ok: a kind face to see people through difficult times or when they are not as strong as they were.

Sue Renton, Project Manager says; “We find that people may come to us for help initially because we have no specific agenda and can provide a wealth of information on local services and activities.”

One such wonderful weekly social activity seeks to connect retired ex-servicemen from the county entitled ‘Mostly Men on Monday’. The gentlemen get together for a game of dominoes or a pub lunch, or just to chat about old times.

The organisation also seeks to raise funds for various items of equipment, which helps empower the lives of the elderly to live at home. Mobility scooters (£200-300 second-hand, but often more), stair lifts (can run into thousands of pounds) and smaller practical things such as large button telephones (£40) can really transform the lives of older people. These people have often carefully planned and budgeted for old age, but unexpected life events have intervened and they find themselves without sufficient resources.

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At present Rutland Community Spirit receives most of its funding from a BIG Lottery grant which will end in October 2014. They also receive a small amount from the local authority and from the Rural Community Council. They have 11 volunteers, but also have three paid part-time staff who make assessments of individuals and see people with significant difficulties.  It is a great cause to support.

If you would like to help fund the purchase of equipment items for the elderly or train new volunteers to make visits and organise social activities, or volunteer yourself, please contact Laura Grant, Director of Philanthropy on 07771606400 or at laura.grant@llrcommunityfoundation.org.uk