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£177k cash from Big Lottery Fund for Keighley’s popular volunteer centre
9:00am Wednesday 2nd January 2013 in News
Keighley’s well-established handyman service for pensioners will be revived – thanks to a £176,864 lottery grant.
There were fears the service run by Keighley Volunteer Centre would be gone forever when cash ran out, but thanks to the lottery funding that disaster has been avoided.
The three-year funding package will enable the Volunteer Centre to carry out a range of household jobs.
Volunteers will carry out tasks from changing lightbulbs to gardening, fitting handrails and installing window locks.
The aim of the new Helping Hands service is to carry out tasks to allow older people to stay living in their homes as long as possible.
For 16 years the Volunteer Centre, based in North Street, ran the Grassroots gardening service for older and disabled people.
It developed into a full home maintenance service, but funding ran out in 2011 and the project closed.
Gary Pedley, manager of the centre, said the lottery grant came just as his team had run out of funding sources and thought the service was gone forever.
He said: “It built up such a reputation in Keighley and it was such a shame to lose it.
“We knew it was such an essential service and so many older people rang up needing work doing.”
Mr Pedley said one useful service would be moving furniture around, such as taking a bed into the living room if someone could no longer climb stairs.
He said: “It’s all about safeguarding the individual – anything that would make an older person more comfortable in their home and not have to go into a nursing home.”
The centre plans to recruit 25 new volunteers each year, particularly the long-term unemployed, providing them with training and experience to help them find jobs.
Work will be carried out free, but householders will have to pay for the materials.
The grant is one of several for the region from Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme, which aims to support those most in need and build strong communities.