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Doncaster’s socially isolated group receive £8,000

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B:Friend, the Doncaster based charity that reaches out to socially isolated members of the local community, has received over £8,000 in funding thanks to the Coalfields Community Investment Programme, delivered by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, the only organisation dedicated to supporting former mining town and villages.

The funding, totalling £8,157, will enable the charity to deliver a range of activities in order to reduce social isolation and loneliness, which is suffered by many elderly residents throughout the South Yorkshire region.

Dances, luncheon clubs, craft classes, quizzes, walking activities, chair-based exercises, boccia and many other activities will be available to members of the Doncaster and Conisbrough community who would otherwise become socially isolated.

Originally an organisation specialising in befriending services by providing local people with opportunities to socially interact and feel part of a community, the Coalfields funding has allowed the charity to extend its range of services.

Mike Niles, Founder of B:Friend, comments: “In Doncaster there are over 22,000 elderly people who are currently living alone. Many of them will have little or no contact with friends or family. Providing them with an avenue to interact with others is crucial to their mental wellbeing.”

“The Coalfields funding has allowed us to further extend the remit of work which we do, being able to provide social clubs and exercise sessions will have a great impact on the local community.”

Andy Lock, Head of Operations (England) for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, comments: “Reducing the social isolation of coalfields residents is incredibly important. B:Friend deliver crucial work in the Doncaster area by providing the space for people, especially elderly residents, to interact and have fun with others.”

“In addition to reducing the chance of loneliness, the activities provided such as chair-based exercise and boccia provide a great outlet for those who attend to improve their health and fitness, resulting in positive effects on the NHS and other local services.”

Delivered by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, the Coalfields Community Investment Programme supports organisations and programmes of activity that meet with three key criteria; to address skills, employment or health.

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust was established in 1999 and is the only organisation dedicated to supporting former mining towns and villages.

Over the years more than 2m people have benefited from support delivered by the organisation. More than 25,500 people have been supported into work, 5,500 jobs have been created or safeguarded, 1.3m people have received the necessary support to help improve their skills and gain qualifications and over 250,000 people have participated in activities that have improve their health.

For further details about the Coalfields Regeneration Trusts, visit: www.coalfields-regen.org.uk.