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RealLiving Older People’s Service wins Herald Society Award

Published on 09/12/2013

LinkLiving staff receiving the award. Elaine Johnstone, Sylwia Nadolny, Niall Campbell, Andrea Sharp, Mark Butler and Heather Doherty.

LinkLiving Ltd’s RealLiving Older People’s Service won the “Older People’s Project of the Year” at the Herald Society Awards 2013.

The project was set up to help older people with symptoms of dementia and to reduce social isolation in Dunfermline and the West Fife villages.

RealLiving received funding from the Reshaping Care for Older People Initiative and the Community Interventions Fund and referrals from Fife Council Social work and Fife Elderly Forum.

What does RealLiving do?

The service recruits and supports individuals to become volunteers who can then be matched with an older person to help them attend a social group, provide help with simple practical tasks or just to meet to go shopping or go out for a coffee.

The project has been very successful with 25 volunteers supporting 30 older people highlighting its ethos that by building connections, the capacity of the older person and the wider community is expanded.

The project now also runs a weekly drop-in café which gives those diagnosed with dementia the opportunity to get out of their homes and engage with the local community whilst offering a valuable respite to their carers - who are in most cases family members.

The Herald Society Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements, innovations, great partnership working and dedicated staff working every day to improve the lives of ordinary Scots. LinkLiving has previously won the Herald Society award for “Service Provider of the year (working with under 24s)” in 2010 for its SmartLiving project.

Stephen Naysmith, Herald Society Editor and one of the judges said: “Our panel were very impressed with the LinkLiving Real Living service, which is an example of the voluntary sector at its best, mobilising local volunteers to help tackle a local problem – the isolation affecting older people in rural Fife villages – with simple, practical ideas. It is particularly pleasing to see Link receive the award for work with older people just three years after taking our young people’s project award, with the SmartLiving service – a real vote of confidence from our judges in the breadth of its work.”

Cllr Andrew Rodger, Executive Health Spokesperson and Member of Fife NHS Board said: "I am absolutely delighted at the success of the RealLiving project. It is a shining example of how funding can be directed towards keeping people safe and living well as they get older. Congratulations to all the volunteers and those involved. They are a credit to Fife.”

Andrea Sharp, RealLiving Older People Service said:

“We are delighted to have won such a prestigious award – especially as the project has just celebrated its first birthday. The recognition underlines the hard work by all our volunteers, those who donate and the support we receive from all our partners. Without them we would not be able to provide such a vital service.”

How to find out more

The project is always looking for volunteers to help out and donations to keep it running. If you would like to volunteer, make a donation, or would like more information about the project, please contact Andrea Sharp on 01592 644048.

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