Borrowbrook Home Link is a registered charity which supports the older adults of the Parish of Ockbrook and Borrowash in maintaining independent lives in the community.
The charity was formed in 2002 after a study group including some of our current trustees identified serious problems with loneliness, isolation, lack of confidence and self-esteem and an inability for the older adults to remain independent in their own homes.
In an attempt to ease the situation our charity eventually managed to acquire comprehensive funding from the Big Lottery Fund and subsequently engage experienced staff in this field. We utilised a number of temporary offices in the area to run our Project from, before a charitable parishioner who realised the value of our work donated our current purpose-built office to us. With the help of a follow-on grant from the Big Lottery Fund, continuous funding from Derbyshire County Council – Adult Care, a one year grant from Lloyds TSB and very generous donations from local churches, councils and organisations we have, over twelve years made real progress in reducing the isolation and loneliness in our parish – and were awarded the prestigious Queens Award for Voluntary Service along the way.
There is still a lot to do though. This year the population for the UK aged 65 and over is estimated to be 17.4%. The latest census data suggests that the population for our parish aged 65 and over will be a much higher 33%. These figures show that our work is even more important now and although we can’t hope to support all of our 2320 older adults in overcoming problems associated with older age we do have to maintain a presence in the parish and offer help wherever we can to those who come seeking it.
- In January 2015 we had 266 members – 205 ladies and 61 men.
- The average age of all members was 80
- The number of men in the Project and the average members’ age are very high for a ‘Welfare in the community’ support group.
- Two thirds of members are able to attend our activities whereas the other third rely on the Magazine and the office for support.
Some of these statistics would possibly suggest a fairly dismal set of characters with physical disabilities and ageing bones – but not in the case of our members! We keep on saying it but it is still as relevant, ‘Age is just a number.’ We have members aged 90+ dancing away at the Spring Party or taking part in our Chair Based Exercise Group. Of course they are the exceptions and there are others much younger who really struggle to get out of bed in the morning due to illness but there is definitely a strong positive theme running through our Project and it’s obviously down to a state of mind.
Perhaps it’s just that our Parish is such a great place to live in or maybe it’s that everyone in our Project feels that they are not alone regardless of their circumstances and are actually involved in a very caring group. What we do know is that whether we see our members at the shops, on coach trips, at their front door when the Magazine is delivered or speak to them on the telephone for some reason, they always manage to smile or say nice things about someone.
Our comprehensive Big Lottery Fund grant has ended and a lot of our time is now spent in securing the money to ensure that our staff, premises and essential services are maintained. A two year grant towards salaries from the Allen Lane Foundation has certainly helped and we are fortunate to have good support from our County, Borough and Parish Councils. The churches, organisations, groups, shops and our members are also helping wherever they can to raise funds and we are constantly working to make our scheme more sustainable. We will continue to actively search for small grants which will be essential as core funding and will become as sustainable as possible by acquiring money needed to run the charity from within our own parish – but many of our members have little or no disposable income.
Borrowbrook Home Link is here to support the older adults of the parish in maintaining independent lives in our community. We are going to continue to organise and run activities and services. We will write the Magazine, distribute greetings cards and try our best to help people when they need to contact the office – but we need our older adults to keep thinking positively, look after themselves and keep in touch.
The charity will continue somehow – and flourish!
Annual surveys of our 400+ members over our twelve year tenure consistently show genuine appreciation of what we do and confirmation that it works – so we have to continue.