More than 700 lonely people in North East Lincolnshire are being helped to a better quality of life thanks to the volunteers of charity Friendship at Home, who have this week been supported with the first instalment of a £15,000 donation from the region’s Freemasons.
The charity, based in the Annie Chapple Centre in Aspen Court in Cleethorpes, was set up to reduce loneliness and isolation and improve the quality of life for older people. It offers one-to-one befriending of older people in their own homes, as well as running social mornings and afternoons, exercise activities, telephone befriending and a range of dementia support services including a dementia choir.
Operational Manager Lyse Stephenson said the charity, which supports people over 60, was finding an increase in demand for its services from those with dementia. She said: “Dementia cuts people off, and we need to help them to be integrated – but the demand for our services is overwhelming.” She said the charity was inundated with calls to support group work. “It does work so well, but with predictions that one in three of us will suffer problems with dementia, we need more volunteers to meet the huge demand we face,” she added.
Currently there are 175 volunteers, but more are needed, said Lyse. “More volunteers would enable us to offer help and support to greater numbers of people – and we have helped thousands in the 13 years the charity has been running.”
Our donation has come from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which will give £5,000 a year for three successive years. Pete Tong is Lincolnshire’s Provincial Charity Steward. He said: “The work of the MCF is an important element of the Freemasons’ support for causes in the community – both Masonic and non-Masonic. The MCF gave £8.5m to more than 400 charities last year; all of it money given by Freemasons themselves. And we topped that up with more than £100,000 to a further 150 non-Masonic good causes in the historic county of Lincolnshire.”
Lyse added: “The Freemasons’ donation is so important to us alongside the other funding streams and supporters. It will be used to help us to cover running costs so that we are able to concentrate on the people who matter most – our members.”
Listen to the Friendship at Home Choir by clicking below.