A local charity in Reading is engaging the elderly in yoga classes and group activities in a bid to reduce feelings of social isolation amongst vulnerable adults in the community.

Awarded £20,559 from People’s Health Trust with money raised through The Health Lottery in London West, the Indian Community Association provides a social space for members to take part in activities and meet others who share similar life circumstances.

HLLW – Indian Community Centre

Vera Gupta, the Centre Manager, said:

“Some of our members have been widowed or live alone which can be lonely, so we promote friendship and fun to support them.”

“We see project members building friendships which now extend beyond the project meet-ups, with more able members becoming a support to those with limited mobility.”

The project provides members with a range of weekly activities as well as lunch to sit and socialise together, with members ranging from 60 years old to 91. They also go on day trips, including plans to organise a weekend in the Isle of Wight.

Talking about the impact of the project, Vera said:

“Our members really look forward to the sessions and many have said that the project is like a second home to them. They always look forward to coming along and think it provides a distraction from worries at home.”

Vera added:

“Yoga is very popular. We do a two-hour session every week, it’s great to see the members having fun and getting some exercise in. We also have a group of gentlemen who have set up a cards club and meet weekly to chat and play card games.”

Health Lottery London West is continuing to support local projects and has raised more than £8m in funds to support over 252 projects within the London West region, which includes South West, West and North West London and Berkshire.

Martin Ellice Joint Managing Director of The Health Lottery said:

“We’re delighted to support projects like the Indian Community Association which make such a marked difference in the local community.”

He added:

“Without your support, it would not be possible to fund these charities and I have every confidence that we will push the overall total raised beyond £8m this year in London West.”

To date, The Health Lottery has raised over £108 million to support local charities across England, Scotland and Wales. This month, funds raised from ticket sales will go towards funding projects in London West.