Initiative transforming the lives of isolated elderly residents in Islington gets £140k backing from City Bridge Trust

A campaign which aims to tackle poverty and isolation in Islington has received a huge cash boost to expand its services.

The City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust (CBT), has awarded a grant of £141,000 to the Cripplegate Foundation to support their Islington Giving initiative.

Since 2010, Islington Giving has raised £4,649,250 and supported 58 organisations and projects.

The grant will go directly towards Islington Giving’s ‘Saturday Socials’ programme of accessible weekend activities to help older people combat isolation, improve wellbeing and skills and feel better connected to the community.

The social events and activities include arts activities, health and fitness sessions and visits to cultural events. The services are used by around 750 people in Islington.

The Cripplegate Foundation’s mission is to achieve change that will transform the lives of Islington’s most disadvantaged residents.

Islington Giving was set up in 2010 by Cripplegate Foundation and is an independent pool of funders (including CBT), business, residents and voluntary organisations working together to address poverty and inequality in Islington.

Alison Gowman, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said:

“Islington Giving is an incredibly successful initiative and we are proud to support this campaign to transform the lives of elderly residents across the borough.

“The weekend is a time when some elderly people can feel particularly isolated, so it is wonderful that the project is doing something to combat this and is looking out for residents.

“City Bridge Trust is committed to supporting Londoners to make the city a fairer place to work and live.”

Tom Jupp, Cripplegate Governor and Chair of Islington Giving, said:

“We are most grateful for City Bridge Trust’s continuing support for Islington Giving and the Trust’s wider backing for the London’s Giving movement. This grant will allow Islington Giving to grow the vital work of the Saturday Socials for disadvantaged older residents in the borough over the next 3 years.

“The Socials – delivered by our expert partners All Change, Cubitt Education and North London Cares - provide an anchor of activity for isolated older people throughout the year at the weekends, when services are generally closed.

“We are delighted that the Saturday Socials activities in 2016 reached over 1,000 people. The Saturday Socials partners also began working in community and residential settings to reach older people who are unable to get out and about.”

City Bridge Trust is London’s biggest independent grant giver, distributing £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.

The Trust has awarded around 7,500 grants totalling over £360 million since it first began in 1995.

It helps achieve the Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.

Case study: North London Cares

Maisie has lived in north London her whole life, and came along to her first Saturday Social two years ago.

One of Maisie’s favourite regular Saturday Socials is the Saturday Picture show. “I never go to the cinema anymore, so North London Cares keeps me updated on the new films, and it keeps me young. I see films I would never have seen.”

Maisie also enjoys the Yoga club and Dances, and the Gizmos & Gadgets tech workshop. When talking about the Saturday Socials Maisie recalls lots of great memories and laughter with friends.

Previously on a Saturday, Maisie would spend her time at home. However, she says that “the clubs at the weekend make me more social, I see more people. I like to be out and about.” Seeing the Saturday Socials in the North London Cares newsletter Maisie was immediately struck by how great they sounded – “I thought ‘that’s a good idea, it will give me something to do on a Saturday.”

Maisie says she has gained a lot of confidence by coming to social clubs. After retiring she admits she felt a little lost, not knowing what she was going to do with herself. She used to walk rather than get the bus, feeling too shy: “but nowadays I have confidence. Life gives you that. And by coming to the clubs you get more.” Now Maisie comes along to nearly all North London Cares clubs, and looks out for different things in the community: “It’s never too late to learn, and it’s all about confidence.”

Two years on from coming along to her first Saturday Social, Maisie is conscious that she’s not only learning new skills and discovering new places, but has become more confident, made new friends and reconnected to her community.