Bristol has today found out it's been successful in its Big Lottery Fund Bid for £5.9 million to create programmes that will enable older people who are most at risk of social isolation and loneliness to lead more fulfilling lives. It is one of 15 local authorities in the country to benefit from the £82 million Big Lottery Fund's Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better Fund, making it through from a total of 100 councils who applied initially.
The Bristol Ageing Better partnership was set up to put the bid together. Age UK Bristol leads the partnership which includes 100 older people working with nearly 100 voluntary, public and private sector organisations.
A criteria of the bid process was that any ideas for change had to come from the experiences of older people themselves.
Mark Baker, Chief Executive of Age UK Bristol said: "The partnership is absolutely over the moon to have been allocated this money. We still need to submit the fine detail of our bid before the final approval but we have now passed the most difficult hurdle. For many older people, Bristol is a lonely place. Big Lottery Funding will help Bristol Ageing Better make a significant difference."
Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson said: "I feel a responsibility to raise awareness, increase participation and get people talking about how to tackle loneliness and isolation. This issue is vitally important as the consequences of isolation can be devastating - including depression and premature death. People want their later years to be fulfilling ones. Our success in this bid will enable us to create schemes that can help make that possible."
Judith Brown, Bristol Ageing Better Board Deputy Chair and Older People Representative said: "This is tremendous news! Now the real work begins, working cooperatively with all our partners to produce real, lasting change for Bristol's lonely isolated older people. I can't wait. We are actively recruiting older people to become truly involved in carrying through the next stages of work. To find out more contact us or come and see our stall at the Celebrating Age Festival at Mshed Museum on Saturday 27 September."
The time and effort of older people and anyone concerned for their happiness and well being is required to make this work a success. Any individual, young or old or organisation wishing to contribute to this important work should contact Bristol Ageing Better:
Timeline of Bristol's Big Lottery Bid: