MANX LOTTERY TRUST SUPPORTS SOUTHERN BEFRIENDERS WITH COLLECTION SERVICE

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Southern Befrienders has been awarded a grant from Manx Lottery Trust, to fund a much-needed collection and drop-off service for isolated residents in the South of the Island.

The charity, based in Port Erin, will be able to hire a driver for 3 years, and pay for holiday cover and petrol thanks to the grant of £37,556.

Southern Befrienders currently has 200 members receiving regular help, either via its befriending service or the social activities. Many of those who have a befriender are unable to attend the social events for reasons including an inability to drive, not being near a bus stop or having physical disabilities.

By introducing a collection and drop-off service, the charity can help up to 50% of the befriended members, which will help to reduce loneliness.

Suzanne Geoghegan, Scheme Manager of Southern Befrienders, said: ‘Loneliness is a pandemic, and it is growing fast. We have many members who would love to meet other members, converse, and share stories, which would add a great deal of joy in their otherwise quiet lives, but finding a way there is simply too difficult. We often recognise that when older people become unable to leave their residence independently, it can cause their mental and physical state to deteriorate rapidly, which is why this service is so important.

‘We’re thrilled to be able to offer the transportation for the next 3 years, and hopefully in doing so our members can see old friends, make new ones, and simply enjoy themselves without a worry. Thank you, Manx Lottery Trust, for making this possible!’

Stephen Turner, Chairman of Manx Lottery Trust, added: ‘Loneliness in old age sadly affects many people across our Island, which is why the Trust are pleased to award Southern Befrienders with the funding to launch this worthwhile initiative.’

To find out more about Southern Befrienders, head to www.southernbefrienders.im/

This grant has been awarded from Manx Lottery Trust’s Dormant Assets Fund. To find out more, head to: www.mlt.org.im/grant-programmes