Getting share of the silver

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A MULTIMILLION-pound scheme to help keep the elderly fit and well has received a cash boost.

The Silver Dreams programme has given six charities across the region a share of £6million to help improve the lives of older people.

The Big Lottery fund has chosen Age Concern Durham County as one of those to benefit.

The organisation has been given £186,000 to fund Come Dine With Us, a project led by volunteers to improve older people’s ability to access, cook and enjoy healthy food together.

The scheme will also help them cope with changes in their lives, supporting 550 people through clubs and dining groups where they can make meals for each other.

The money will also help develop a healthy food training course and shopping clubs, encouraging and teaching older people to grow their own food.

Harriet Gibbon, chief executive of Age UK County Durham, said: “It is estimated that approximately 13 per cent of older people living in the community suffer from malnutrition.

“Poor diet can contribute to a number of health problems which can affect an older person’s health and wellbeing and ability to remain independent.

“There are number of reasons why older people have a poor diet including access to healthy food, income, lack of cooking skills and knowledge of good nutrition.

“Some eat poorly as they are not motivated to cook and eat alone and following, for example, bereavement they can become socially isolated.”

Grandparents Plus – Relative Experience is among others in the region to win money.

It has been given £196,500 to run a pilot scheme to provide peer parenting across the North East to support older people who are carers for a relative, or a family friend who care for a child who cannot be looked after by a parent.

James Turner, Big Lottery Fund’s head of region for the North East, said: “Silver Dreams is all about encouraging groups to come up with projects that recognise the positive contribution older people make to society while also supporting them through life changes.”

Other projects are in Northumberland, Derwentside and North Tyneside. All will now test and develop their ideas during the next 12 to 18 months.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham