Monday, 15 April 2024
Monday, 15 April 2024

New funding to meet surging demand for Southwark befriending service

A befriending service for isolated older people run by a historic charity in Southwark will double its capacity, thanks to new funding.

Blackfriars Settlement, which traces its roots back to a pioneering social movement founded in Victorian times, has been awarded £48,300 by City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.

It will use the money to recruit and train new volunteers, who visit older people in their own homes once a week for a cup of tea and a chat.

The Rushworth Street-based charity says the funding will enable it to double the number of older people currently supported and to cope with a post-Covid surge in demand.

New funding to meet surging demand for Southwark befriending service
City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson.

City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said:

“For over 130 years, Blackfriars Settlement has been at the heart of Southwark life and continues to be a really important hub of the community.

“This service provides older people with friendship and social contact, which are vital to health and happiness and which many of us have come to value more than ever during the pandemic.”

Blackfriars Settlement was founded in 1887 by female graduates as a residence bringing rich and poor together, part of a national movement aimed at tackling structural and institutional inequalities in society. 

Today, it is a thriving community centre offering services including mental health and well-being support, a free legal clinic and older people’s service of which befriending is part.

Blackfriars Settlement Director of Services Liz Ranger said:

“The befriending service is hugely valued and this extra funding will enable us to double capacity to meet the demand for a service that was already over-subscribed even before Covid.

“We’re able to match volunteers with like-minded isolated older people, who really appreciate having a friend and someone who’s not being paid to visit them but who wants to be there.” 

More information about Blackfriars Settlement is online at: www.blackfriars-settlement.org.uk.

The City of London Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, is London’s biggest independent grant giver, awarding grants of over £28 million a year to tackle disadvantages across the capital – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk.

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