Help for isolated elderly thanks to Sheffield charity cash

Sheffield Mencap art group users present a commissioned canvas to company SDL.
Sheffield Mencap art group users present a commissioned canvas to company SDL.
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ISOLATED elderly people will be given a helping hand after a Sheffield charity scooped £155,000 in funding.

Sheffield Mencap is to use the new money in a scheme aimed at older families where one person cares for somebody with a learning disability or has one themselves.

It is estimated the scheme to ‘empower older people’ and help them stay more independent will benefit around 100 people a year in the city.

In some cases families where people in their fifties are still living with their parents or older carers are to be part of the project.

Janet Sullivan, chief executive of the organisation which is based at Norfolk Park special school, said: “It may be workshops but we will mostly be visiting people in their homes, because older people want that more, and taking technology there to show them how to access help and information about things like benefits to make sure they are fully supported.

“But also we will be hoping to set up groups where people can get together and offer IT classes because nowadays if you’re an elderly person and not on a computer you are at a disadvantage to get the best deals.

“It is generally to help people who are isolated because of their circumstances and may not have had any input from social services.

“It’s about supporting them to be able to live a full life and achieve their potential.”

Sheffield Mencap and Gateway, on Park Grange Road, works with people of all ages who have a learning disability and their families.

It aims to give people meaningful daytime and social opportunities.

This week some of their day service adult users handed over a specially made painted canvas - pictured above - to city centre firm SDL as the company is a keen fundraiser.

Art group members also enjoyed a Christmas lunch with staff and the canvas will be put on display in the offices of SDL on Pond Hill.

Sheffield Mencap’s new grant money, which totals £155,800 given over three years, was handed out by the Lloyds TSB Foundation for England and Wales.

Most of the cash will be used to pay for a dedicated project officer to lead the scheme with older families.

The foundation shared more than £2 million this week between 15 organisations which help older people stay independent and feel
 empowered.

Linda Kelly, chief executive of the Lloyds TSB Foundation For England And Wales, said: “The foundation has a long history of supporting charities that support older people.

“This funding is in addition to the foundation’s core cost investment in small to medium sized charities that supports older people.

“It also comes when funding to support this vulnerable sector is being cut.”