A NEAR-£500,000 lottery grant will help a Kimberworth Park project battling isolation and loneliness to broaden its reach.
Opening More Doors is run by the Kimberworth Park Community Partnership charity, which provides one-to-one support and a network of activities for young and older people.
The cash injection — £494,814 from the National Lottery Community Fund — will support the project to increase its scope to cover Wingfield, Greasbrough, Rockingham and Munsbrough.
KPCP strategic director Denise Butterell said: “The community fund cannot be quantified in terms of the pounds it provides, only on the impact it has on people’s lives.
“Opening More Doors offers support for people to build confidence in themselves, and trust in others, which moves them from isolation and loneliness to being part of warm and welcoming groups in their own communities.”
The funding will cover the five years to spring 2026.
Group activities — based at the Chislett Centre and helping to build friendship networks — include a monthly cafe for those with dementia and their carers; Needles and Natter supported craft sessions; a luncheon club; pamper sessions for older women; and a walking group.
There is also parent and toddler support, activities and trips for families, and young volunteers group Cobra, which stands for “come on bring respect always”.
The weekly footfall in normal times is about 220 people, with another 35 supported through outreach work in the community and schools.
Before the pandemic, demand for services was steadily increasing — and loneliness, isolation and food poverty have been exacerbated in the past 14 months.
The charity adapted to continue operating during lockdowns, as well as adding services like food delivery and a community food pantry.
And with restrictions easing, Opening More Doors aims to provide continuation of support, without which many would have no opportunities for social contact, wellbeing checks or help accessing food.
KPCP operations director Dawn Heald said: “Isolation and loneliness are issues in all our communities and it is important area boundaries are not seen as further barriers to people accessing support.”