Embracing Age Project picks up national award

16 May 2016

Richmond based ‘Embracing Age’ has been awarded a £1,500 prize after nominations from across the UK were invited for the annual Faith in Action awards.

This pioneering scheme encourages local churches to work together to support and befriend elderly people within the community and supports care homes across the Borough of Richmond.

Tina English, Director of Embracing Age, was presented with the award at the Congregational Federation Assembly held in Oldham on Saturday 14 May. The awards, sponsored by national church insurer Congregational Insurance, recognise the efforts of churches that establish and maintain social initiatives within their local community.

Tina said: “We are delighted to receive this prize in recognition of the valuable time that our committed volunteers provide creating friendships and supporting older people in care homes. We will use the funds to provide further in depth training for our volunteers in areas such as dementia, so we can continue to expand our work and offer more support to care home residents.”

Embracing Age, based at The Vineyard Life Church in Richmond, was established in 2014. Whilst there are initiatives to support elderly people within the borough, there was little being done for care home residents to help them feel included within the community. Volunteers attend frequent training sessions on active listening; communication challenges for elderly people and associated practicalities. Since its start up, Embracing Age has placed volunteers in 9 of the 20 care homes in the Richmond area. Volunteers visit the care homes weekly and offer a range of support activities including simply chatting, assisting with computer skills, singing, playing games or any other exercises the residents are interested in. Developing friendships with elderly people living in care homes enables them to live a more accomplished life. Embracing Age makes a positive step to improve the lives of the elderly, promotes unity and inspires the local community to get involved.

Margaret Slater, Marketing Manager of Congregational Insurance, commented: “We place a strong focus on supporting community initiatives such as ‘Embracing Age’ that really make a difference and unite people. I feel the success of this wide ranging project is that it provides social interaction and helps bridge age, gender and cultural divides through friendship.”

Rev Adrian Burr, Chair of the Congregational Federation Mission and Society Committee and a member of the judging panel commented: “The standard of entries for this year’s awards was high, and each of the prize winning organisations have made a real impact in their local area. We are absolutely delighted that so many impressive, projects have grown out of local congregations and we’re proud to provide ‘Embracing Age’ with their well-deserved cash prize and hope that this funding boost will enable them to continue this important work within the community.”

To view short films of this year’s winning projects, visit http://bit.ly/1QYqLf3