The Partnership Between Knowle Masonic Centre and Age UK Solihull
There are 3.6 million older people in the UK, of whom over 2 million are over 75 years of age and live alone. The down side effects of loneliness on human body is equivalent to harm caused by 15 cigarettes a day which makes it even worse than obesity.
Research over loneliness shows that it is associated with a 50 percent increase in mortality from any cause. According to Age UK, it is associated with depression, sleep problems, impaired cognitive health, heightened vascular resistance, hypertension, psychological stress and mental health problems.
To tackle daily problems caused by loneliness and isolation, such as financial hardship, decline in physical or mental well-being or life transitions including retirement and bereavement, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) launched a £1 million three-year partnership with Age UK in 2018 to fund a new project called ‘Later Life Goals’. Thanks to this project, Age UK advisers have been helping older people identify their goals for later life. So far, the project has supported over 2,370 older people.
Age UK Solihull, one of thirteen branches in this project, has been working closely with
Knowle Masonic Centre (KMC). During the summer, Keith Reynolds, Deputy Chairman of
KMC, presented Anne Hastings, CEO of Age UK Solihull, the certificate sent by MCF granting £63,000 as part of the 3-year partnership. The level of co-operation between KMC and Age UK Solihull goes even beyond funding projects. KMC had gladly welcomed Age UK Solihull to have their regular meetings and social gatherings at KMC’s premises.
Besides, Age UK Solihull has initiated a significant service called ‘Linking People Together’ which aims at promoting individual independence, confidence and well-being. The service calls on volunteers to visit and befriend older people in their local areas. Volunteers are expected to create a personal connection with an older person who could be homebound or suffering from a long-term disease or having no family living locally. Volunteers can befriend someone either by phoning at an agreed time for a chat or by visiting them at their home. It is also possible to accompany them to an activity or appointment.
KMC is delighted to be part of this partnership and committed to support Age UK Solihull. To contribute to the project, members of the KMC are encouraged to participate with their families.