Funding from a charity founded by an Elizabethan benefactor over 400 years ago is being used to help modern day older Londoners impacted by the pandemic.
The Emanuel Hospital charity was founded in 1600 after a bequest by Lady Anne Dacre to set up an almshouse to provide homes for 20 older people and education for 20 children.
The charity, administered by the City of London Corporation, is still going strong today, and has now awarded grants of almost £450,000 to Age UK and Friends of the Elderly to support older people across the capital.
Services to be funded include friendship services, local information, advice and practical support and one-off grants to older people for essential items such as household appliances and heating.
Research by Age UK found almost a fifth of older people feel less confident leaving the house by themselves, over a quarter are less fit, and over a third feel more anxious than they did before the pandemic.
City of London Corporation Emanuel Hospital Management Sub Committee Chairman, Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli, said: “The issues that older people face, such as loneliness and frailty, have only been exacerbated by extended periods of lockdown during the pandemic, and the feelings of isolation that brings.
“This funding will help two charities that have been strongly affected by the pandemic and face huge demands for their services. I’m sure Lady Anne Dacre would be proud to see her legacy continue to help older people across London.”
Age UK will receive more than £325,000, which will go towards its Telephone Friendship Service and to 22 local Age UKs’ frontline services, to help older people across London.
Age UK Fundraising Director Laurie Boult said: “We are hugely grateful for the Emanuel Hospital grant which comes at a time when older people truly need our help, with the effects of the pandemic leaving many older people still feeling anxious, alone and needing somewhere to turn.
“The money will help local Age UKs across London to provide vital frontline services to older people, such as advice and practical support on issues ranging from benefits and housing to health issues, as well as helping to fund our national Telephone Friendship Services, which are a lifeline for so many lonely older people wherever they live.”
A grant of over £117,000 has been awarded to Friends of the Elderly, to be used for one-off grants of between £400 and £1,000 for individuals, and grants of £5,000 to other organisations helping older people.
The individual grants can be used for household essentials such as cookers, washing machines or boilers, mobility aids or home adaptations or helping older people get online.
Friends of the Elderly Chief Executive Steve Allen said: “Some of the people we help have to choose every day whether to heat their home or have a hot meal, they’re trapped in their home because of mobility problems or they’re embarrassed to invite people round because of the lack of heating or a cooker.
“Isolation and loneliness is a huge issue and something as simple as having handrails in the shower so they can wash, or an oven so they can cook for their grandchildren, can play a really important role in boosting older people’s confidence and helping them feel less isolated.”