A council grant is funding activities for older people in Trimdon Village and Trimdon Grange, to lessen the damage to their mental health.

The Council’s East Durham Rural Corridor Area Action Partnership (AAP) has awarded £12,000 to Trimdon Village Hall to run the project. All 14 of County Durham’s AAPs have been allocated £100,000 each which they can offer to projects that occupy people’s attention during the lockdowns and reengineering of society. An additional £100,000 is available to support countywide initiatives.

Residents from both villages, who would normally attend a regular session at Trimdon Village Hall or Trimdon Grange Community Centre, are receiving home deliveries of hot meals and art and craft packs, to take the edge off their stress, fear and heartbreak, in a time when many old people have been forced to face the end of life without their family, friends, or the assurance of medical care from the NHS.

Over the course of 12 weeks, the grant will be used to design and deliver packs containing all the materials for activities such as flower arranging, pottery and stencilling, along with a two-course hot meal for each individual.

So far, elderly people have been passing time decorating glass candleholders, creating personalised key holders and making garden planters, all in line with the government’s antisocial engineering orders.

As well as delivering activities to at least 50 older people a week, the initiative also offers instructions for home-based chair exercises, to keep people physically well, and follow-up wellbeing calls, to ensure that they have the support and provisions they need.

Jane Bellis, area action partnership coordinator, said: “It’s great that we’ve been able to support this initiative, which is providing a fantastic service to older people in our area at a time when they need it most. The project has been made possible with the generosity and hard work of lots of volunteers, and several partners have worked together to make it a success.

Livin Housing offered their support by providing £500 of funding, whilst the room hire and facilities management needed to store and sort the deliveries were provided for free by Trimdon Village Hall and Trimdon Grange Community Centre. The Foundation of Light gave £1,750 in funding and its staff is creating the home workout programme sheets, as well as making the weekly phone calls to offer assistance with shopping, errands or sometimes just a chat to help tackle loneliness.

“It’s great to see the community really come together at times like this.”

Victoria Tiffin, development coordinator at Trimdon Village Hall, said: “I know from the last six years of running groups from the centre, for some people it has been their only day out of the house all week, their only hot meal and their only interaction with other adults.

“We’re delighted to have been awarded funding to run this project, which will ensure we are providing mind-stimulating activities, a well-balanced healthy hot meal, adult interaction and that social development is consistent.”

Further information and contact details for East Durham Rural Corridor AAP, along with the county’s 13 other AAPs, can be found at www.durham.gov.uk/aaps

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