It’s a bright day in February and we’ve joined Accord – Age Matters and their weekly walking group.
Accord – Age Matters are one of the Foundation’s Community Matters partners and work specifically with people over the age of 50 in the Black Country providing a range of services.
Gary Blackburn, Work and Enterprise Advisor, told us:
“The purpose of the walk is to promote healthy living, our group is for over 50s and a lot of them have been out of work for some time.
“Some of them are actively looking for work, but these sessions are more about them getting out, getting involved with other people and building their confidence. The walks contribute to a reduction in social isolation and improved well-being.
“We’ve been running the group since July and we generally meet once a week.”
The whole purpose of the Community Matters project is to help people get into employment.
“The beauty of this project is that its so flexible. It’s all about breaking down whatever barriers they face so there’s no set programme. They’re in the driving seat, they’re in control and as long as they’re moving forward, we’re happy.”
As we walked around Wolverhampton’s West Park, we found out how one participant, Adrian, has benefited from Accord’s Community Matters programme:
“Overall, it’s been brilliant, one for helping me on the way to get back into work and two for helping me in the classroom.
“I’ve been here about 10 months. Gary has helped me out with my CV. I didn’t know what to put about myself because it’s been so long, but he helped me write a personal profile.
“The help and advice they’ve given me is immense and I like the walks. It gets me out, I get to meet these guys and we get to have a chat. That’s brilliant, otherwise I’d be indoors now.”
The chance to socialise is often overlooked by organisations is an important tool in a participants progress. Gary added:
“It’s been a pleasure to see friendships flourish within the group and how the participants have come together to support one another outside Community Matters activities!”
For more information on the Community Matters project please click here.
For more information on Accord – Age Matters please click here.
The National Lottery Community Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, its funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 it has awarded £8.5 billion to projects that improve the lives of millions of people.
The BBO project has received £260,813 of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.