OLDER people across Wearside will get help to make their voices heard after a charity received more than £200,000 funding.
Age UK Sunderland has been given £212,657 from the national Big Lottery Fund.
The charity is one of 10 across the region to share in about £2.7million funding.
“It is for an advocacy service that will tackle some of the issues that older people have,” said Age UK director Alan Patchett.
The project aims to help older people maintain their independence by providing advice on subjects such as paying fuel bills as well as support with other issues such as retirement, housing and social care.
The charity is now in the process of recruiting a co-ordinator to oversee the service, which will be provided in the community rather than from its city centre offices.
“Sometimes people need a little support to allow them to stay in their own home and fend for themselves,” said Mr Patchett.
“They might need help to continue with the life they are entitled to.”
Age UK expects to work with 1,000 people over the five years the funding is intended to cover.
The Big Lottery Fund is also helping nearly 100 County Durham families with children suffering from cerebral palsy and other motor disabilities.
The fund has made a £241,163 grant to Heel and Toe Ltd, based in Framwellgate Moor, which aims to improve children’s health, mobility, independence and self-esteem while also providing respite for parents and carers.
It is the only charity in the region offering free conductive education therapy to young people, which complements NHS treatment as an additional therapy and combines physiotherapy and occupational therapy with learning. The service will be provided to children aged up to 19.
Charity manager Doug Long said: “We are absolutely delighted – this funding from the Big Lottery Fund is vital to expanding our service.
“We have more than 20 children on our waiting list for treatment.
“The funding means we can expand in two ways. Firstly, we will be able to recruit more therapists to help more families who visit our centre.
“Secondly, some people cannot always access our service but this funding means we will now be able to take our service out to people who need it - to either a convenient community centre or even visit their home.”
James Turner, Big Lottery Fund Head of Region for the North East, said: “One of our biggest priorities is to support groups that help the most vulnerable in our society.
“I’m very pleased to see several very worthwhile projects in our region are getting funding. These groups work so hard to improve the quality of people’s lives.”