The coalition government has announced that a new £2 million fund will be made available to help community and volunteer-led projects provide extra support to older people, next winter.
The government say that the extra funding, jointly from the Cabinet Office’s Centre for Social Action (which supports programmes that encourage people to create positive change through social action) and the National Tripartite Group (a group made up of NHS England, Monitor, the Trust Development Authority and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care), will help older people stay healthy in their homes or recover from illness more quickly, which in-turn will reduce pressures on A&E departments or delayed discharges from hospital.
Grants will be made available to voluntary and community-led services who use ‘social action’ to maintain or improve the health and well-being of older people in the UK.
Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd said:
“We want to make sure that older people have the support they need next winter. There is already some excellent work being done in the voluntary sector and this partnership is about finding the best programmes and supporting them to do more.
“It is also about building a case to encourage more commissioners to look at the wider role that the voluntary sector can play in supporting people in their own homes.”
Applications to the fund can be made via the Social Investment Business Group (SIB Group), who already manage the Social Action Fund on behalf of the Office for Civil Society in Cabinet Office. The group also manages the Social Enterprise Investment Fund for the Department of Health.
The changes come as part of a government initiative (promoting social action) to encourage more people to lend their time and skills to volunteering and other forms of ‘social action’ in order to contribute more to society.
Critics argue that the changes are all part of David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ ideology, which they claim is designed to replace state administered support with charity-led welfare and healthcare in a cynical bid to reduce the size of the welfare state.