Funding boost to help charity bring elderly out of the shadows (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Epping-based befriending project City on a Hill lands £10,000 Big Lottery Fund boost
A GROUP of volunteers are bidding to prove community spirit is well and truly alive by transforming the lives of their isolated neighbours.
City on a Hill is a burgeoning befriending project, aiming to provide support, a helping hand and social activities for Epping's elderly residents.
Chair Ruth Mordi, 35, of Warren Field, runs the charity with friends Dave and Sylvia Conlon and Karen Akoto.
The 35-year-old, who moved to the town three years ago from Southwark, said: "I came here and the first thing I thought was 'there's nothing going on'.
"The elderly are overlooked so often. We must be able to get that sense of community back."
The project started out in 2010 as a 25-member choir based in Epping Hall, in St John's Road - but was forced to disband after funds ran out.
But a £10,000 windfall awarded by the Big Lottery Fund this week has revived the project and it will relaunch in January, offering regular social events to give older residents regular contact with the younger community.
The money will provide a project coordinator, training for the cause's 12 volunteers and a permanent town centre hub.
"We want to be more central, because most of our clients, they are elderly, they use frames," said Ms Mordi.
"One of the things we are trying to do is to get young and old people to share stories of Epping and share skills and get the two generations talking.
"It's about giving them a sense of purpose."
- If you would like to volunteer with City on a Hill, call Ruth on 07947 168763.
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