Young at Heart
This grant will help Father Hudson’s Care to expand its Young at Heart project and develop a new scheme that will reach out to isolated older men. The project will help them to grow their social networks, be more active, get involved in the community and find their purpose again.
The danger of loneliness
Research shows that loneliness is as harmful as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. People who are lonely are more likely to develop dementia, heart disease or suffer a stroke. They’re also more likely to suffer with depression or commit suicide.
Stoke has the highest male suicide rate in the West Midlands and the fifth highest in the country. Reducing depression that comes with isolation is a key aim of the new project.
The project will encourage men to use their skills
Drawing on Stoke’s industrial heritage, the new project will offer activities that have a goal in mind and that encourage men to use their skills to benefit the project and their wider community. The project will offer both workshop-based and outdoor activities. Men will have a wide choice of activities, such as metalworking, pottery-making, woodwork and growing food on the project’s allotment. It will also offer social groups, with guest speakers and the opportunity to learn new skills.
Men can take part by joining in with activities, attending a social group and volunteering with the project. Volunteer opportunities will include marketing, treasurer roles, gardening, booking guest speakers for meetings, delivering food from the allotment to lunch clubs, and driving. Men won’t just be passive beneficiaries but active contributors, making the project what they need it to be.
Staffordshire Freemasons visited Father Hudson’s Care to find out more about the new project
Matt Ford, Young at Heart project co-ordinator at Father Hudson’s Care, said:
“We’re very grateful to Staffordshire Freemasons for their generous grant which will allow us to make a big difference to older men in our community. It’s mostly women that come to social groups, so men often feel that the groups are only for women. Getting men involved can be a real challenge – they won’t admit they’re lonely and they won’t ask for help. They might be depressed but feel like they can’t show it. We want to do something about it.”
John Lockley Provincial Grand Master for Staffordshire Freemasons said:
“We’re very pleased to be able to help Father Hudson’s Care. They are doing very important work with older men, a group that is often ignored in our society. As a fraternal organisation for men, we’re especially keen to be able to help with the Young at Heart project and look forward to making a real difference in Stoke-on-Trent.”
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