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Charity welcomes Lottery boost for BME project

25 July 2011

The Older People Services Project, which provides specialist multi-lingual help and advice for black and ethnic minority older people, has been awarded almost £500,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.
The Project, which is supported by Trust, Hanover and Bield Housing Associations and is active throughout Scotland, works with older people, their families and community groups to help them to learn about and access a range of benefits and services. It also offers support and guidance on more general age-related issues such as dementia or coping with loneliness and isolation. The award of £476,029 over five years from the Big Lottery Fund's ‘Investing in Communities Fund,' will employ two multi-lingual staff to work directly with older people.
Rohini Sharma Joshi, Trust's Equalities Manager, will be managing the project on behalf of Bield, Hanover and Trust Housing Associations.  She said: "This new funding will enable us to transform the lives of many more older people in Scotland for the better.  Older people have a right to live their lives in dignity and comfort and with Lottery funding our outreach workers will be able to provide the extra help that many marginalised older people need to access appropriate benefits and services. We are planning to reach at least 1,000 older people during the course of this project."
An Age Scotland spokesperson said: "It's really pleasing to see the Big Lottery Fund investing in support for older people from black and minority ethnic communities.  Where people face double disadvantage; as a result of age, and of marginalisation due to ethnicity, additional help is essential if they are to access benefits and services to which they are entitled."
The Older People Services Project has already achieved considerable success in the three years since it was founded, outperforming its original targets, both in terms of the numbers of people it has helped across Scotland and also in the value of the entitlements it has raised on behalf of people it has assisted.
One couple who have benefited from the project said: "Because both of us are not able to speak English well, the project helped us to express ourselves fully, resulting in us getting what we needed from service providers."