Silver Surfer (2)A leading housing and care provider has, for the second year running, been awarded funding that will enable it to introduce and boost initiatives that directly improve the lives of older people across Scotland, particularly for those living with dementia.

By successfully securing £75,000 from the Scottish Government’s People and Communities Fund, Bield will channel the funding towards a range of projects with the potential of benefiting more than 850 people including around 250 older people living with dementia.

The decision to renew funding equals the single largest revenue grant the organisation has ever been awarded in its 45 year history.

Brian Logan, Chief Executive at Bield, said:

“We are understandably delighted to have secured this substantial funding which opens up new possibilities to enrich the lives of so many people across our developments.

“The benefits of these projects go well beyond what is plainly obvious – for every older person whose quality of life improves, family, friends and carers also stand to gain immensely.

“The funding is also testament to the success of past initiatives, which have provided fantastic opportunities and have delivered significant improvements to the social, physical and mental well-being of hundreds of people.”

The People and Communities fund focuses on the promotion of social inclusion and helps to fund projects that encourage communities to come together.

Communities Secretary Angela Constance MSP said:

“This funding means Bield will continue to deliver a range of initiatives to improve the lives of older people across Scotland.

“Every community in Scotland has different challenges and aspirations and there is no one-size fits all approach to tackling poverty and social isolation.

“Our People and Communities Fund is giving organisations like Bield the support, help and confidence to make a difference in communities.”

The projects to benefit include:

● The continuation of the Evening Support Service at Thornhill Court in Falkirk, a pioneering scheme which provides a twice-weekly opportunity for older and frail people to enjoy social activities and get out and about on engaging and social trips – allowing their carers valuable respite.

● ‘Bistros’ which are designed to provide a safe environment for people and families living with dementia, bringing all the joys of restaurant eating to a comfortable and familiar surroundings. The concept came about after Bield staff, recognising that people who use their service experience feelings of anxiety when they are put in unfamiliar surroundings, were determined to ensure the simple experience of dining out could still be enjoyed. Following on from the huge initial success of these Bistros at Whitehill Court in Kirkintilloch and Oakburn Park in Milngavie, a third has recently opened at Johnny Moat Place in Prestonpans.

● A ‘Playlist for Life’ project, which encourages the use of familiar music to help those with advanced dementia to communicate and connect with friends and family through significant songs, will be introduced in a number of developments with scope to expand even further.

● The completion of an arts project at Abercrombie Court, in St Monans, Fife. Last year, the grant allowed tenants to create an Arts Group and extra funding this year will enable the group to become fully self-sufficient and participate again in the St Monans Art Festival.

● The Fife Flexicare service will continue to organise weekly seated exercise classes, or “Flexercise” as it has become known, offering Tai Chi and gentle exercises to keep our older people fit and healthy.

● A hugely popular and innovative scheme to encourage tenants at several Bield developments to become ‘tech savvy’ following on from the success of the original ‘Fit2gether’ programme. Volunteers will continue to help tenants learn to Skype long-distance friends and relatives, send emails and pay bills online.

● Langvout Court in Biggar will look to further develop their recently re-landscaped garden to include a Summerhouse. This addition will give residents more opportunities to use and enjoy the garden all year round.

Kevin Row, Fundraiser at Bield, said: “The reality of this funding is that it will improve so many lives across the whole country.

“There are many individuals at all of our developments who work very hard to enable such positive projects and I know that there will be a lot of excitement generated with the announcement of this funding.

“It is vitally important that older people in this country have access to fulfilling and beneficial projects and this is very much in keeping with Bield’s ‘free to be’ ethos.”

Bield is a registered charity which grew from humble beginnings, starting out with one housing development in Bo’ness growing into a wide range of housing and services for around 20,000 older people across 23 local authority areas. Find out more about Bield housing and services at www.bield.co.uk.