Independent Age’s vision is of a society in which everyone can live a happy connected and purposeful later life. This is a challenge for those 1.4 million older people who live with at least one unmet care need in England, the 2 million people over 65 who live below the poverty line, and the more than 1 million older people across the UK who say they are always or often lonely. This is why Independent Age offers advice and guidance on a wide range of important topics for older people and their families, delivers vital befriending services, and campaigns tirelessly for a better deal for older people across the UK; to ensure that, as we grow older, we all have the opportunity to live well with dignity choice and purpose. Coronavirus has changed the lives of everyone in the UK, but this is particularly true for the older generation who remain amongst the most affected. Before COVID-19 struck, Independent Age was exploring ways to strengthen collaboration with older people and local organisations with the aim of playing a more active role in supporting communities. Coronavirus accelerated this thinking and resulted in the launch of the Independent Age Grants Fund in May 2020. The Grants Fund has been designed to support smaller charities (those with an income of less than £1m a year) who work with older people who are most likely to be missing out through the pandemic: The two groups it focuses on are: • Older people living in particularly complex and challenging situations • Older people in danger of being out of sight and out of mind.
The Independent Age Grants Fund delivered three rounds of funding in July, August and October 2020. Grants of between £5,000 and £15,000 were made to 203 organisations in all parts of the UK totalling £2.38 million. Demand for funding has been very high with a wide variety of requests, ranging from the delivery of food, prescriptions and other vital supplies to delivering services online/via phone and re-opening face-to-face services safely. The Scheinberg Relief Fund’s donation, made in November, will enable Independent Age to deliver a fourth round of grants which will be distributed by February 2021.