£60,000 awarded to help tackle resident’s social isolation focusing on single men aged 50 plus

The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded WM Housing Group, who are working in partnership with Groundwork West Midlands, £60,000 for the next two years to help combat social isolation and loneliness experienced by some residents living in Birmingham tower blocks.

The scheme called Fancy a Brew? will concentrate on tenants living in Birmingham’s Clydesdale Tower and Cleveland Tower in the first year of the scheme.

The three-low rise blocks nearby, Avon House, Lansdown House and Nash House will see events held in year two.

The project aims to deliver regular weekly activities to help bring residents together, so they can make friends and help to reduce isolation and loneliness.

Community Engagement Manager at WM Housing Group, Elaine Shirley, said the project is a great way to help people feel less isolated.

She said: “This is a brilliant project to help target isolation among some of our customers particularly single men aged 50 plus.

“Of the 500 residents who live in the two tower blocks 64% are male and 71% live alone and recent consultation with residents in the tower blocks highlights their desire to have the opportunity to meet their neighbours and take part in locally based activities.

“The project aims to deliver a variety of weekly activities and this can be anything from cinema, quiz nights, informal coffee mornings to an informal football match.

“The weekly activities will be very much user led – we will set up activities for the first three weeks and then after that people will decide what they want the activities to be.

“We have worked with Groundwork West Midlands in the past and they have identified that people in tower blocks may feel lonely and isolated.”

The first event is set to take place during the first week of June.

It is a street food event where vendors will give residents an opportunity to taste a range of dishes while meeting their neighbours.

This will give us an opportunity to find out what future activities residents would like to take part in.

Elaine said: “To kick start the programme we are proposing to deliver activities such as speed friending, which is like speed dating but for making friends, quiz nights and food events.

“We want people to enjoy the activities and get people connecting with each other and their community. We also want our residents to tell us what activities they would like to take part in.

“The ideal outcome for us is that our residents create friendships, feel better connected into their community, feel less isolated and improve their health and wellbeing.”

The £60,000 funding has been awarded from Reaching Communities England – which is part of the National Lottery Community Fund.

Elaine adds: “It’s brilliant that we have been given this funding, I am absolutely over the moon.

“I am looking forward to making a positive difference to our resident’s lives. Groundwork West Midlands have worked with us previously and are an organisation aiming to help people build better neighbourhoods, improve job prospects and live and work in a greener way.”

Manager of Groundwork West Midlands, Jo Elward, says: “We have a longstanding relationship with WM Housing Group and we have worked together on the National Lottery Community Fund bid.

“The scheme is targeted at men aged 50 plus but anyone of any age is welcome to come along to the events.

“It’s great that we have secured funding for this and we hope that residents will get a real benefit from it.”

Reaching Communities England donates grants worth more than £10,000 to ideas that bring people together and improve community spaces.

The grants are available for a maximum of five years depending on the project.

For more information and questions please contact our Community Engagement Manager, Elaine Shirley by emailing elaine.shirley@wmhousing.co.uk

A Facebook page is also available by visiting facebook.com/WMfancyabrew