Elderly people in need will receive a boost from a £470,740 donation from the government, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has announced.
This funding will support the Red Cross, Age UK, Westbank Community Health and Care and Royal Voluntary Service’s Winter Pressures initiative, which operates across seven areas of the country.
The initiative links up volunteers and elderly people, many of whom spend long periods in hospitals, ensuring that they receive not only appropriate physical care and support but also companionship and friendship from dedicated volunteers.
These funds will help provide around 500 volunteers for a further 12 weeks, supporting at least an additional 2,500 people. It will support the paid staff overseeing the projects, recruitment campaigns for volunteers, transport for volunteers and patients and training.
The funds will come from recent fines levied on the Department of Health for NHS England breaking strict off-payroll rules imposed by the Treasury to tackle tax avoidance.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:
Volunteers do an amazing job in supporting our communities across the country, so I’m delighted that we can support hundreds of volunteers who give so much to help the elderly.
This funding will benefit at least 2,500 elderly people, making a genuine difference to their physical and mental health. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to do this with money from fines levied on the Department of Health for NHS England for breaking strict off-payroll rules imposed by the Treasury.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said:
We welcome this further funding for voluntary organisations to enable them to help the NHS work as effectively as possible for older people, especially when the system is under such pressure.
By complementing the essential role of health professionals, these projects help older people and bring the idea of whole-person care to life. In some cases, by providing early support we can prevent older people needing more intensive treatment and care, whether that’s by avoiding a hospital admission or by getting them home earlier through putting good support in place.
Ultimately all of us, whatever our age, just want to be as well as possible in our own homes.
Mike Adamson, Chief Executive of the British Red Cross said:
The Red Cross is pleased to be extending its support to some of the country’s most pressured accident and emergency departments, and through this reducing the number of people who are stuck in hospital by giving simple practical and emotional support to settle back into life at home.
Mary Nisbett, Chief Executive of Westbank Community Health and Care, said:
We are delighted with the announcement of this additional funding which means our 125 volunteers can go on supporting elderly people to be in their own homes, and help our local NHS to focus its resources on those who most need them.
David McCullough, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service said:
We are pleased this additional funding will enable us to have an even greater presence working alongside staff in Leicestershire Hospitals to improve the wellbeing of older people. Collaborative working with the NHS, social care and other local partners with trained volunteers in place to support the recovery of older patients can reduce delayed discharge and ease the pressure faced by busy A&E departments.
Local NHS trust and charity partnerships across 7 areas will benefit:
- Westbank Community Health and Care (based in Devon)
- Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital Trust
- Royal Voluntary Service (based in Leicestershire)
- Leicester General, Glenfield and Royal Infirmary Hospitals
- Age UK South Lakeland
- Furness General Hospital, Westmorland General Hospital and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary
- Age UK Cornwall and Isles and Scilly
- Cornwall Partnership Founding Trust and Plymouth Hospitals Foundation Trust
- Age UK Oxfordshire
- John Radcliffe Hospital, Abingdon and Witney Community Hospitals
- Age UK Leeds working with British Red Cross
- St James’ University Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary
- British Red Cross Society (based in North Derbyshire)
- Chesterfield Royal Hospital, Bolsover, Walton, Whitworth and Clay Cross Community Hospitals