Charity fund to help combat loneliness in pensioners

The Age UK Ukelele Band.
The Age UK Ukelele Band.

A new charity fund has been launched to help combat loneliness among the elderly thanks to an anonymous donation.

County Durham Community Foundation has matched the donation to form the “Enriching Later Life Programme” which will offer grants of up to £20,000 for organisations working with older people to make them feel more valued and engaged.

The perfect way to showcase the impact the community foundation has on local communities

James Fenwick

Barbara Gubbins, the foundation’s chief executive, announced the new fund at a celebration event in Easington to mark a new era for the organisation, which has given out more than £35m to good causes since 1995.

Last year, the community foundation gave out a record £3.5m and now manages 215 charitable funds.

The Next Chapter event, which took place at Easington Social Welfare Centre, was organised to mark the departure from the community foundation of Barbara and Mark I’Anson, who is stepping down as chairman. Both have served for nine years.

Co-founder Sir Paul Nicholson paid warm tributes to the pair for their huge contribution.

Barbara was awarded the CBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours for her contribution to the voluntary sector.

James Fenwick has been confirmed as Mark’s successor as chairman, while a new chief executive is expected to be announced in the next few weeks.

Easington Social Welfare Centre was chosen as the venue for the celebration event because it has been supported by the Community Foundation as a vital social hub for a number of years.

Members from a range of organisations spoke about their involvement with the community foundation and highlighted the impact it had had on communities.

Performances were also given by a range of artistic groups supported by the Community Foundation, including Jack Drum Arts’ Baque de Ogum Band, dancer Ryan George Smith, Durham Miners Association Brass Band, Deerness Gymnastics Academy and Age UK Ukelele Band.

James Fenwick described The Next Chapter event as: “The perfect way to showcase the huge impact the community foundation has on local communities in many different ways through their charitable funds set up by local people who want to give something back.”

To find out more about the foundation’s grants visit www.cdcf.org.uk.