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Prize fund launched to reduce isolation and loneliness amongst older people
Date of article: 12-Jul-12
Article By: Rachel Baker, News Editor
A £50,000 prize fund has been made available to tackle the increasing problem of isolation amongst older people. Groups and organisations are being encouraged to put forward their ideas for the Ageing Well challenge which has been launched by innovation foundation Nesta. The project is being funded by The Cabinet Office to help stop older people feeling lonely and isolated, by engaging communities to give their times, skills and resources.
Isolation and loneliness among the elderly has far reaching impacts on family, friends, carers and the wider community.
Vicki Purewal, head of centre for challenge prizes at Nesta, explains, “Older people want to be valued, use their skills and be supported to live independent lives at home. Yet, many older people feel over-institutionalised and separated from society.
“We’re calling on organisations and groups of people who can bring communities together in new ways to help ease this problem. Perhaps you have experienced these issues first hand with a parent, relative or neighbour and you have an exciting new idea that could help reduce levels of isolation among older people. If so, we want to hear from you.”
Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said, “We set up challenge prizes to encourage organisations to come up with creative ideas to tackle social problems, such as how we can help stop older people feeling lonely and isolated in their homes and ensure that they get better support.
“The challenge prizes are an exciting opportunity to tap into the great creative energy in this country that wants to bring people together to make a difference.”
A recent conference: ‘What Do We Know About Loneliness?’ held by the Campaign to End Loneliness in collaboration with Age UK Oxfordshire, was attended by Minister for Care Services, Paul Burstow. It explored research that 8 to ten per cent of the UK’s older population are lonely, and 20 per cent of the older population are mildly lonely. Research has also shown that around 5 million of the UK’s older citizens, which is half, say their television is their main source of company.
The Ageing Well prize will be awarded to the innovation that can reduce the isolation and, or increase the mobility of vulnerable older people by providing new opportunities for communities to come together to give time, skills and resources.
Out of all entries, 25 will be shortlisted and given the opportunity and support to develop a detailed plan for their idea.
Five concepts with the potential for sustainability and scale will then receive up to £10,000 and professional advice to set up and test their projects before the winner is selected in September 2013.
The Ageing Well challenge is open to not-for-profit, private and public sector organisations, as well as non-constituted groups and partnerships that are coming together for the first time to develop their ideas.
Entry to the challenge is via online application at www.nesta.org.uk/givingchallenges and the deadline is midday, 14th September 2012.