Last minute funding of £10,000 will keep the Forever Young Club at Carrickvale Community Centre going for the time being.

We reported the story of the club losing its council funding earlier this year. Now the last minute cash is cause for celebration for the club which entertains and serves up lunch to around 40 elderly people each week.

The club was facing closure by Christmas due to a drastic cut in funding from the council but now money from The National Lottery Community Fund will keep the Forever Young Club open for the foreseeable future, and allow volunteers to continue providing activities and warm food for its 40 members.

Sarah Boyack, MSP for Lothian, who helped residents establish the club, offered her congratulations and said : “This is tremendous news. The club has been going for almost 14 years and provides a crucial service for these residents who depend on it for social events and to stay in touch with their communities. Without it, many people would be otherwise isolated and alone in their homes.”

The club had faced the axe after an administrative error meant that they missed the council funding application deadline. This meant that their funding was slashed from £26,120 to £4,200 leaving it on the brink of closure.

Chairperson Mary Murray expressed gratitude for those who helped the club. She said : “We had to start from scratch after the last club was dissolved. Sarah got involved and came on walkabout for the residents’ association, and wrote to the council on our behalf. I’m not sure we could have done it without her, to be honest. We also got some help from EVOC, which was important.

“We also want to thank Sarah for intervening and writing to the National Lottery Community Fund on our behalf, too.”

Club treasurer Jan said : “Quite literally this club is a lifeline for many members, getting them out of the house, letting them socialise, take part in different activities, art, games etc. and feeling valued. As a volunteer I have learnt so much from them. Not once have I regretted joining them.”

Ms Boyack said : “I was proud to be around in the early days of the club, and even prouder to visit this week to see how successful the club has been. It is exactly what Edinburgh should be doing and a great example of communities supporting each other and caring for our elderly and most vulnerable in society.”

The much-needed Forever Young funding comes as the Scottish Government today launched its Community Wellbeing initiative, seeking public input into that ways in which community wellbeing and happiness can be measured.

Ms Boyack added : “People have contacted me to say that they are concerned about the importance of wellbeing when it comes to social care and the elderly. The Forever Young club improves the welfare of our older residents, and it is running at full capacity now, which underlines its value.

“Groups like this are vital to many people and we should do everything we can to ensure they are given support to remain part of our communities.”

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