Cash boost for under threat community scheme in Wath

Ann Roche, Chairman of Management committee and Claire Laver, Activities Co-ordinator, pictured during a Tai Chi class. Picture: Marie Caley NSYT 01-12-14 Montgomery MC 2
Ann Roche, Chairman of Management committee and Claire Laver, Activities Co-ordinator, pictured during a Tai Chi class. Picture: Marie Caley NSYT 01-12-14 Montgomery MC 2

A under threat community scheme to help vulnerable people to get out and about and make new friends has been saved thanks to a cash windfall.

The social prescribing service in Wath was facing an uncertain future after funding ran out last year.

But the project, which provides activity sessions for everyone, including the elderly and disabled people, has been saved thanks to a £14, 500 cash award from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.

The scheme is delivered by Wath Community Partnership at Montgomery Hall.

Partnership Director Ann Roche, 59, a former teacher from Wath, said: “We are so relieved that we have secured both the funding and support from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.

“Montgomery Hall is a hub of community activity and the social prescribing has delivered unprecedented success.

“It would have been heart breaking to have come this far yet be faced with being unable to continue this valuable service at the hall.”

She added: “Social prescribing is a relatively new concept but is something that really works.

“Often people don’t realise that there are alternatives to medical care as this is what they are sign-posted to. We have seen a notable increase in our referrals and expect that this will continue as the service gains profile over the weeks and months ahead.”

Project leaders receive referrals from the NHS for people such as the elderly, disabled or people who may be suffering from mental illness, who may benefit from taking part in group activities.

Sessions offered at the hall include Tai Chi, bingo and coffee mornings. New activities in the pipeline include indoor curling and the sport of boccia and a Sunday Club.

The idea behind social prescribing is to encourage residents to be healthier and to improve well-being to reduce GP appointments and stress on NHS services.

Funding from the NHS and Voluntary Action Rotherham ran out earlier this year, but the CRT offered two grants through its Coalfields Community Grant.

The partnership will receive £10,000, which will pay for the continued appointment of a social prescribing activities coordinator and a Sunday Club coordinator. The group will also receive a further £4,500 to develop a marketing plan to promote its range of services.

Steve Abson, social investment manager for CRT, said the project has made a real impact on the community and he would like to see that success continue.

He added: “Montgomery Hall provides a quality service at a community level.

“The organisation has developed a model that works and has a real impact on the health and wellbeing of those living in the local area.

“We will continue to champion this ongoing project as best practice and a shining example of what can be achieved when we all work together.”