Rotherham Loneliness Project awarded 5-year Lottery funding

A new grant of almost half a million pounds will support a project tackling isolation and loneliness in Kimberworth Park and surrounding areas until 2026.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 12:53 pm
Updated Friday, 4th June 2021, 12:55 pm

The project, ‘Opening More Doors’, is run by local charity Kimberworth Park Community Partnership (KPCP) and the money, £494,814 in total, has been awarded by the National Lottery Community Fund to cover the period April 1, 2021 - March 2026.

Denise Butterell, Strategic Director at KPCP, said “The Community Fund cannot be quantified in terms of the pounds it provides, only on the impact it has on people’s lives. ‘Opening More Doors’ offers support for people to build confidence in themselves, and trust in others, which moves them from isolation and loneliness to being part of warm and welcoming groups in their own communities.”

The ‘Opening More Doors’ project provides one to one support and incorporates a network of different groups and activities for young people, older people and families in Kimberworth Park. Group activities offer people the opportunity to build social and friendship networks which they then take into their everyday lives. These include:

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Memory Cafe - A monthly social experience for people who are experiencing dementia and their carers

Needles and Natter Group - Supported weekly crafting sessions

Luncheon Club - Lunchtime activities for older people

Pamper Sessions - Beauty and therapeutic treatments for older women

Short Walk Group - Exercise and socialising for older people

COBRA (Come on Bring Respect Always) - A young volunteers group

A range of groups, activities and trips aimed at supporting families

Parent and toddler support

These are run out of the Chislett Centre, home to KPCP, in the heart of Kimberworth Park by skilled and sensitive staff and volunteers. Lottery funded activity runs alongside a range of other services and activities provided by KPCP. Overall, footfall at the centre over a ‘normal’ week is around 220 people, with a further 35 people supported each week as part of KPCP’s out-reach role (e.g. one to one support in the community and young people in local schools).

As part of its approach, ‘Opening Moor Doors’ will be looking to broaden its scope beyond Kimberworth Park to offer support to people and groups in Wingfield, Greasbrough, Rockingham and Munsbrough. Dawn Heald, Operation’s Director at KPCP, said “Isolation and loneliness are issues in all our communities and it is important area boundaries are not seen as further barriers to people accessing support.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for these services was continually increasing and it has inevitably risen to even greater levels since. Loneliness, isolation and food poverty have all been exacerbated over the past 14 months. KPCP has adapted to continue to operate services during this time, in compliance with coronavirus restrictions. Additional services have also been implemented, including food delivery and a new community food pantry.

With restrictions easing, the ‘Opening More Doors’ project now aims to provide continuation and development of the support which is still much needed at this extremely difficult time. Without these services, there are many who would have no alternatives for social contact, well-being checks or support with accessing food.

Taking a project over a five-year period enables capacity building by harnessing local people’s skills and experience to ensure services and activities are self- sustaining in the longer term and remain community owned and delivered. It also provides time for reflective learning, which can be shared across agencies creating greater opportunities for community impact.