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Loneliness is not just for Christmas: Lovebrum continues to tackle social isolation in 2018

In the lead up to Christmas, the headlines were dominated by age-related charities tackling loneliness amongst older people. However, the festive season has been and gone, and the loneliness epidemic remains across the UK. Not waiting until next Christmas to take action, local charity LoveBrum has stepped by funding a local project that is focused on combatting social isolation in Newtown and Aston.  

Almost three-quarters of older people in the UK are lonely and more than half of those have never spoken to anyone about how they feel. This is the shocking statistic that is a reality for so many on a daily basis. With the help of campaigns like Age UK’s ‘No one should have no one’ video and Good Morning Britain’s ‘1 million minutes’ drive, the issue was a hot-topic over Christmas, but barely a story remains as we head into the new year. That’s why LoveBrum is continuing to support projects that tackle the confines of social isolation and promote the value of intergenerational activities.

Completing another successful year of funding, which has seen LoveBrum showcase over 120 projects and provide over £70,000 funding, The Over 55’s Community Dance Class is the final project to receive funding in 2017, as chosen by LoveBrum members through the monthly vote.

The Over 55’s Community Dance Class is a group of older adults up to the age of 80 from less affluent

areas of the city, who meet on a weekly basis to not only improve their overall health but battle social isolation that is faced by so many. Founded by local community dance instructor Victoria Drew, the dance class was originally part of Birmingham Settlement’s “aging well” project but when funding ran out after the 8-week pilot, the class could no longer continue. After seeing the success of the class, Victoria was determined to bring the class back so sought help from LoveBrum.

LoveBrum awarded The Over 55’S Community Dance Class £2,000 as a result of its monthly funding campaign. The money means the project will be back for 2018 and will able to provide over 30 weeks of dance classes, including an end of term performance.

Speaking about the funding, Ashleigh Mills, General Manager at LoveBrum said: “LoveBrum recognises and helps groups of people within the city who most need support. We see that loneliness amongst the older generations is an issue not just at Christmas time but all year round and we want to continue to support projects across our region that are battling this issue. The Over 55’s Community Dance Class aligns with LoveBrum’s ethos of unearthing hidden gems in the city, along with making Birmingham an even better place to live. Had it not been for LoveBrum, this project wouldn’t have continued past its eight-week pilot, but now we’ve secured its future for the medium term, at least. I am so glad that we’re able to support Victoria and Brummies just like her who want to make a difference.”

Launched at the beginning of 2015, LoveBrum supports hidden gem projects across Birmingham that are often volunteer-led and that deliver real change. The charity aims to profile around 40 causes per year, with 12 receiving £2,000 funding complemented by a years’ business support. These projects are promoted as part of a monthly vote, where members find out about a cause every week and vote for their favourite at the end of the month. The charity has also just announced a £250,000 cash injection from National Lottery, which sees LoveBrum partner with Big Lottery Fund to expand the reach of the charity and fund even more projects.

The monthly voting process puts the spotlight on individual projects at the start of each week, with LoveBrum members then having the opportunity during the final week to vote for the cause that they want to receive the money. What’s more, the unsuccessful charities are still benefitting from support, with local partners offering financial and in kind support to help them achieve their objectives.

To find out more about how LoveBrum aims to make Birmingham better and communities stronger, visit: http://lovebrum.org.uk.

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