Oldham is thriving with nearly 70 fast grants awarded to benefit communities

More than 70 community organisations have been awarded Fast Grants to improve the areas where they live.

Fast Grants are small amounts of money, awarded to an individual resident or a community group with a great idea and requires a small pot of money to deliver something in their community.

The successful projects include an East meets West dress making course run by the Fatima Women’s Group and the building of a Chinese dragon for Spotlight theatre’s next production – Aladdin.

Breathe Easy a support and advice group for people with breathing difficulties was awarded a grant to continue to communicate with their members.

And it was time for tea and celebration for Chadderton Together after they were awarded a Fast Grant to continue running tea dances at Chadderton Town Hall – a lifeline for residents who enjoy socialising with new friends.;

Fulwood Community Garden is buzzing after being awarded a Fast Grant to improve their bee hives and protect the bees during the cold winter. This will increase the bees’ productivity. Once the work has been carried out the garden will be open to the community and local schools for educational activities.

Social prescribing

This news comes as the NHS announces plans to increase the prescribing of social activities to patients who don’t need pills.  Social prescribing as it’s known is already well established in Oldham. Nearly 10 per cent of Oldham residents self-identify as being lonely.  That is why Oldham Cares has been working with communities in Chadderton and Westwood and to date has helped 115 people by connecting them to 78 different community groups and organisations.

One such case is Rani. She came to Oldham from India three years ago, is recently widowed with a one year old daughter. Her GP referred her for social prescribing due to mild depression. She made contact with Action Together – the organisation that runs social prescribing in Oldham – and after conversations with her community connector about her interests – was put in contact with a knitting group at her local community centre. Her connector also found a play and stay session for her daughter where both mother and child made new friends.

After developing in confidence, Rani went on to further education with Oldham Lifelong Learning Service and is now looking to find employment.

Rani said “The social prescribing service is excellent, five stars. I am really happy and I have enjoyed going to the sewing classes and MIND. I feel like they will really help me. I feel like someone is looking out for me.  I will be continuing to attend the activities”.

Councillor Zahid Chauhan, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said “Often the best medicine is to enjoy community facilities and activities such as walking, gardening and support groups.

Social isolation and loneliness is on the increase and that’s why we are making a real commitment to tackling this in Oldham with a community-led approach.”

“I would encourage everyone to find out what is happening in their community and enjoy everything it has to offer.“

To find out more about the Thriving Communities work in Oldham vist www.oldhamcares.com/thriving-communities.

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