For nearly 28 years now the management committee and team at LEAP have collectively worked together to deliver services for older people across South Lanarkshire aimed at active inclusion, improving and/or maintaining health and wellbeing, addressing issues around loneliness and isolation, rurality and access to services.
Our work has been recognised locally and nationally through various prestigious awards including Quality in Befriending Excellence, Investing in Volunteers, European Foundation of Quality Management, Revolve Quality Standards and the Queens Award for Voluntary Service as well as being championed by members of the local community and local government. Most recently in November 2019, we won the Herald Society's Charity of the year for older people.
We use an asset based approach bringing local people together to address multiple complex challenges by utilising knowledge, skills and lived experiences around loneliness, isolation, access to services, education and leisure and gaps in local services. We see older people as leaders, shapers and drivers of change and strive to enable inclusive growth at all levels.
Many of our client complex long term health conditions and compared to Scotland as a whole, older people in South Lanarkshire have relatively more physical disabilities such as heart disease, blood pressure or circulatory conditions, with the incidence of long term health conditions and mental health problems increasing. A case study across 52 countries found that food poverty contributes to 50% of all coronary heart disease deaths.
This is further compounded by the fact that the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation shows that 53 South Lanarkshire localities are in the most deprived 15% of areas in Scotland, this being the fifth largest number amongst the Scottish local authorities.
Fuel, food and financial poverty has become a major issue for many of our clients and as a team working with local communities we have identified a need for an income support officer, and any monies raised would go towards developing this initiative.
Our vision is that this person would work with individuals to reduce their outgoing costs by for eg price matching utilities, by assisting clients to access benefits and opportunities available to them such as the winter fuel allowance, free transport, access to food provision such as food banks and to how to better connect with their community for increased support and access to such services as befriending and free handy person services and activities aimed at bringing older people together where they can develop relationships that will support them in good times and bad.
Our vision ifor clients is to reduce social isolation, contribute to improving their health, maximise individual's income and reduce the incidence of fuel and food poverty and the difficult decisions clients have to make such as whether to put the heating on or to eat!