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Saturday, 19 September 2020

CHARITY TODAY AWARDS

Parkinson’s UK awarded vital funding to help with coronavirus response

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PARKINSON’S UK has been awarded a £348,600 grant from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, to help deliver vital services and support to people affected by Parkinson’s who are struggling with the impact of COVID-19.

The grant will ensure the charity can design and deliver new online tools and offline resources to help with the needs of the community that have emerged during the pandemic. Led by the ‘Parkinson’s Connect’ team that is working to transform the charity’s support offer, it includes helping people to manage their Parkinson’s without access to normal clinical support and keeping active at home to manage their symptoms.

The funding boost will also help to develop and deliver activities to support over 500 Lead Volunteers across England.

Many of these volunteers are living with Parkinson’s and are responsible for their local Parkinson’s UK group which provides friendship and support to members. Through these volunteers, over 20,000 local group members will be supported as the nation emerges from the pandemic, ensuring their immediate needs are met, isolation is reduced and a sense of connection is rebuilt.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition for which there is currently no cure. Around 145,000 people in the UK have Parkinson’s, and two people are diagnosed every hour.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over a million people with Parkinson’s, family members, friends and carers in the UK have needed the charity’s support more than ever. Parkinson’s UK has transformed and adapted the support they offer, especially to the most vulnerable people who are at an increased risk of complications if they get coronavirus.

Katherine Crawford, Director of Services and Local Networks at Parkinson’s UK said:

“We are incredibly grateful for this generous grant from The National Lottery Community Fund that will help us to deliver crucial services and support to people affected by Parkinson’s in these difficult times.

“COVID-19 has caused so much anxiety within the Parkinson’s community. Care routines and peer support have been severely disrupted or are unavailable. Many were and still are worried about their health and getting appointments, and we know people struggled to access food, medication and benefits.

“It’s been an incredibly challenging time for charities too – we have seen demand for our support services increase, but at the same time, our income has dropped due to cancelled fundraising events.

“That’s why this grant is so vital – so we can continue to build on the great work of ‘Parkinson’s Connect’ to help us adapt to what our community needs now, whether that is more online support or offline ways of living well with Parkinson’s.

“The money will also be used to help our network of volunteers and local groups to share, learn and discover new ways of combating isolation as it’s so important to not feel alone with a condition like Parkinson’s. We will look to increase the number of people with Parkinson’s who are supported and connected in vital community groups.”

Elly De Decker, England Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“COVID-19 and lockdown have been particularly hard for our vulnerable communities. Now, thanks to National Lottery players, Parkinson’s UK will be able to reach out and keep sufferers, friends and family supported and connected. We’re delighted to be funding their life-changing work and can see that our grant will make a real difference to this community.”

The grant is a huge boost to Parkinson’s UK, which launched an emergency fundraising appeal in April. The charity has set out to raise £95,000 per week to enable them to continue their vital work to support people during the pandemic.

In 2019, Parkinson’s UK was awarded a grant from the Fund towards their ‘Parkinson’s Connect’ project, a support service with digital service design methods at its centre. It makes use of pivotal technologies to allow greater scale and presence of digital technologies in the increasingly tech-savvy Parkinson’s community.

To find out more visit www.parkinsons.org.uk and www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk.

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