Salvation Army uses FCHO funding to help the elderly during coronavirus
Elderly people in Fitton Hill are in high spirits despite coronavirus thanks to the efforts of their local Salvation Army branch.
Earlier this year, The Salvation Army was successful in bidding for £500 of funding under FCHO’s Respect Our Community Awards (ROCA). This was set to part-fund some community ‘thank you’ events, but when coronavirus struck, they had to rethink their plans.
Keen to make good use of the money, the branch quickly changed course and teamed up with Oldham-based community group Reel CIC to provide much-needed help to local older people. From care packages and shopping for essentials, to doorstep dancing and street bingo – the older people of Fitton Hill have certainly been well looked after throughout the pandemic by their dedicated team of volunteers.
Graham Rogers, Family Worker at The Salvation Army, said: “When we went into lockdown, everything we were currently doing completely changed. We knew there were a lot of older people in our community who really needed our help during this time, so we got to work straight away.
“We began by pushing leaflets through people’s doors asking if they needed anything picking up, but this quickly turned into much more. With the ROCA funding, we bought equipment and travelled to different areas to do doorstep dancing sessions and ‘singo bingo’ on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, where the older people can get involved and even win a prize.
“We started in three areas and now we’re up to 12 across Fitton Hill. It’s amazing to see how much these activities cheer them up during a very strange time. We’ll carry on for however long the virus lasts.”
73-year-old resident, Hilda Muffett, who joins in with the ‘singo bingo’ every week, said: “I’ve been shielding due to medical problems so I haven’t seen anybody until very recently when my son has been allowed to come in the house.
“The sessions have kept me going. Just to come out and wave to everyone in the street and enjoy the fun together is brilliant. You really feel like you’ve been out. They put so much energy into it – it’s fantastic. I hope it carries on after the virus.”
Emma Davison, Executive Director Customer First at FCHO, added: “The selfless efforts of Graham and others at The Salvation Army are simply inspiring. It’s heart-warming to see how much their work is benefiting our older communities.
“Without it, I’m sure many of our local people would have felt extremely isolated and lonely during these unusual times.
“I am so proud of our ROCA scheme, and indeed the fantastic FCHO staff who are behind it and make it possible. We’re so glad we can help by working with local groups to really make a difference to the lives of people in Oldham.”
Resident Hilda Muffett and winning bingo sheet
Hilda Muffett and Graham Rogers, Salvation Army
Salvation Army volunteer Anne Quinlan (left) with resident Sandra Oliver
Residents Lynda Crowther and grandson Arthur Nuttall