People in hardship to benefit from new First Choice Homes Oldham funding

20 February 2018

Households in Oldham who are struggling financially will get help to eat healthily on a budget thanks to £20,000 funding for community groups.

The Ancora Project has been able to launch its Eat Well, Spend Less courses due to receiving £320 from housing association First Choice Homes Oldham.

Oldham residents who are at risk of experiencing crisis similar to not being able to access basic needs such as food, shelter and fuel as well as health and social care needs will now have the much needed support.

Working in collaboration Keyring, Oldham Foodbank and Christians Against Poverty the Ancora Project received the grant at the latest Rapid ROCA (Respect Our Community Awards) event run by First Choice Homes Oldham.

Claire Gleeson from Keyring said: “The funding will enable to us to empower people to cook more meals from scratch cutting out a lot of sugar and salt which is found in a lot of ready meals, leading people to have healthier lifestyle.  We can also teach people simple financial management skills to enable them to budget more effectively and avoid getting into debt.  With social isolation being an issue, we can encourage people who take part in the courses to get together, learn and raise any issues that they may need assistance.”

Joanne White, First Choice Homes Oldham Funding Assistant, and event organiser said: “The panel had the challenge of looking at a wide range of community based activities and were delighted to be able to allocate funding to the successful groups. “These small cash grants will make a huge difference for the people in Oldham who will benefit from such an interesting and wide range of activities that will improve the communities and lives of all involved.”

The Oldham Stroke Association has also benefited from the event. The group now have the opportunity to train carers and volunteers in Reiki treatment. The sessions can help with social interaction as well as helping to improve mobility and speech rehabilitation for people who have had a stroke.

Gaynor Millet from Oldham Stroke Association who submitted an application said: “We have been running for over 15 years in Oldham and have provided a vital facility for local people. However, due to government funding The Stroke Association will now only be run by volunteers. We want to continue to provide Reiki treatments and training for stroke survivors, new and old members, and their carers and other volunteers. Rapid ROCA has given us a lifeline.”

A number of community groups across Oldham gathered together to apply to win a share of £20,000 at the Rapid ROCA event which was held at the head offices of First Choice Homes Oldham in January.

A total of 22 groups received funding up to £500 to help fund vital projects in the borough as part of the fourth Rapid ROCA event.

Another successful application is the Young Women Empowerment project. The idea is to empower young refugee women and asylum seekers by bringing them together to enjoy activities such as: sewing and hairstyling/braiding.  The plan is to create opportunities for young women to socialise while empowering them to develop skills and be creative.

Emmanuela Bih, British Red Cross volunteer and applicant said: “I am volunteering with the British Red Cross and this has given me the opportunity to interact with some of these young women which led to me conducting a survey. I realised most of them feel isolated regardless of the rights to remain in the country. This project seeks to reach out to both the refugees and asylum seekers to get them busy and also create a friendly environment for everyone.”