Empower Inspire

Empower Inspire CIC was established at the beginning of 2022 as a direct response to a post-Covid world. The idea was to reduce isolation and promote inclusion through the creation of community groups to be formed on a needs-led basis.  The organisation operates in the Neath Port Talbot/Swansea Bay area of south Wales.  Empower Inspire has now set up eight community groups that benefit 110-120 people a week.  These include a group supporting parents of children with additional needs, an intergenerational group meeting for coffee mornings, two Singing for the Brain classes, and a group initiative aimed at improving mobility in older people.

At the February 2023 meeting, Allen Lane has agreed a grant of £5,000 to Empower Inspire to set up an additional group in Glynneath within the Vale of Neath.  This will run as the ‘Sunflower Café’ and provide an informal session for individuals living with dementia, and their carers.  The dementia café will help to reduce the isolation felt by individuals and their families, and improve their wellbeing.  It aims also to improve opportunities for signposting/referring people into professional services where appropriate.


Dementia Friendly Parishes around the Yealm

This charity works in the rural parishes of Wembury, Brixton, Yealmpton, Newton & Noss and Holbeton which are situated around the River Yealm in South Devon.  It focuses its work on supporting families who have a family member diagnosed with or living with dementia, and also raises awareness of dementia in the wider community. Around 45 families are currently supported, alongside another 40 people attending community based groups and activities.

At the October 2022 meeting, Allen Lane Trustees agreed a grant of £5,000 over two years towards Dementia Friendly Parishes around the Yealm.  This funding is a contribution towards the general running costs of the charity.  Outcomes from the coming year are that the charity will aid the local area in becoming more dementia friendly; families will be helped to maintain quality of life when coping with a dementia diagnosis; and that it will work to improve alliances in the wider area.



Melksham Free Dining

Melksham Free Dining was set up during the Covid pandemic, with the aim to bring people back together again after restrictions were lifted. The organisation is focussing its work on elderly, vulnerable and lonely people who are otherwise socially isolated. It offers a free two-course nutritious lunch, followed by social activities and support by volunteers. It takes place in a community hall in Melksham, a small town in Wiltshire with 42 people currently benefitting.

In October 2022 a grant of £4,000 split over two years was agreed. The Foundation’s funding will go towards general running costs of the weekly provision. Anticipated outcomes are that the organisation will continue supporting over 40 people each week with a healthy meal, emotional support and companionship.


Fermanagh Rural Community Initiative

Fermanagh Rural Community Initiative works to address the issues faced by people who are socially excluded and disadvantaged within Fermanagh and bordering counties in Northern Ireland.  It offers training and opportunities to people five days a week from its offices and base in Enniskillen. Core activities are around employability, with IT training, personal development and a range of short courses on offer – such as Health & Safety, Manual Handling, First Aid etc.  In more recent years it has offered craft activities and introduced a Men’s Shed Project too.

At the June 2022 meeting, the Allen Lane Foundation agreed a grant of £5,965.  This covers the shortfall in the budget of a digital skills project for older people that Fermanagh Rural Community Initiative is running.  The project will benefit around 45 people, and aims to improve their knowledge and skills in using technology, either through a computer, smart phone or other device.  It will help older people to access important services online such as booking vaccinations appointments etc, and improve online safety through better understanding of scams or fraud.


Elder Voice

Elder Voice works from Blairgowrie across a large rural part of Eastern Perthshire.  It offers a range of services that aim to benefit and advise older people living in the area.  It runs a befriending scheme, offers regular shopping and prescription uplift services, provides a community and patient transport project, and offers a ‘Store to Door’ service with an emphasis on healthy eating.  More than 500 older people are registered as clients of the charity’s work.

The Allen Lane Foundation offered funding to Elder Voice at the June 2021 meeting of Trustees.  The £5,000 grant will contribute towards general running costs of the organisation. Anticipated outcomes of the work are that older people will have improved connectedness to services with a reduction in isolation and loneliness; and that they will have improved wellness and self-esteem, promoting independent living.


Pershore and District Volunteer Centre

Pershore and District Volunteer Centre offers three main activities locally. These are: recruiting and placing around 100 volunteers each year for the centre and various local voluntary and community organisations; a community transport scheme that includes volunteer drivers and accessible minibuses, and;
a lunch club that meets three times a month for around 40 older people.

The Centre caters for people in the market town of Pershore and in the 45 rural villages around the town, which is ten miles from Worcester.

At the June 2021 Trustee meeting, Allen Lane agreed a grant of £2,000 that has contributed towards costs of establishing a formal befriending scheme for older people in the district. This follows on from a more ad-hoc telephone befriending service during Covid that helped lessen people’s isolation and kept a regular connection whilst other face-to-face activities had stopped. A new part-time befriending coordinator post will be recruited, and the scheme expects to benefit ten new volunteers who will support 20 new clients over the coming year.



MyCareMatters is a community interest company that works across a wide area, largely around the south of England.  Its aims are to improve the experience and outcomes of care in any social setting for people with communication challenges. It aims to empower people with the information, tools and support that they and their families need to gain a sense of control and involvement in their own care.  It has been running two specific projects to help older people and those with significant conditions such as dementia.  The first is around later life planning and centres on a useful resource ‘My Future Care Handbook’; and the second is a Buddy programme that uses the Handbook as a framework to supporting people in identifying and meeting their goals for later life.

At the February 2021 Trustee meeting, the Allen Lane Foundation awarded a grant of £7,500.  This is a contribution towards costs of running the Buddy Programme, and particularly to help better inform people who are newly diagnosed with dementia and their families and older people in general, around a future care plan.  Outcomes of the work include improved wellbeing and peace of mind for individuals and families; a better experience for individuals in later life and at the end of life; and overall reduced costs to society through fewer unwanted hospital admissions and/or medical interventions.


Rural Coffee Caravan

This charity aims to relieve rural isolation and promote community spirit and is focussed mainly on older people. It provides a free information service that visits rural villages in Suffolk to provide social contact, information and guidance to communities that have difficulties in accessing such assistance due to their geographic location. This includes a mobile community café caravan, that enables people to come for a hot drink and cakes whilst accessing relevant information, advice or support. Over 6,000 people benefit per annum, through around 300 village visits across the county.

At the February 2021 meeting, the Allen Lane Foundation agreed a grant to Rural Coffee Caravan that will help to fund ten village visits per annum. The grant was for £9,000, split over a three-year period. Outcomes of the work involved include: older people living in the villages that are visited will reconnect and socialise with others in the community and will have reduced isolation; and that they will be able to access relevant information in order to promote their mental and physical wellbeing.


Medway Volunteer Centre

Medway Volunteer Centre works across the Medway area of Kent from its base in Gillingham.  It works to recruit, register and provide opportunities to people volunteering across the area, and supports organisations to enable volunteers to become involved.   Requests for volunteers are increasing all the time and it runs a training scheme for volunteers with learning and other difficulties so giving them much needed confidence.  The Centre also runs its own range of services, such as a transport service, befriending scheme, reminiscence and gardening services.  Around 900 volunteers are involved.

A grant of £5,000 has been offered at the Foundation’s October 2020 meeting.  Funding is towards the post of a new role at the Centre – the Tackling Loneliness Coordinator.  This new full-time post will work to recruit new volunteers and work directly with organisations and community groups across Medway to identify more vulnerable and isolated older people and coordinate actions to reduce loneliness for these people.


Our Special Friends

This charity seeks to support and enhance the companionship and bond between people and their pets. It operates from Newmarket and covers West Suffolk. The work includes practical help for vulnerable or isolated people to manage their existing pets; visits from volunteers with a pet to lonely older people who are missing animal companionship; and help with looking after pets whilst people are in hospital or unable to manage due to illness or frailty. The charity is actively supporting around 150 people at any one time. A further 100 older people benefit through volunteers and their accredited pets making visits to local care homes and dementia units when COVID restrictions are not in place.

The Allen Lane Foundation has agreed a two-year grant totalling £7,000 to Our Special Friends. This will help with general running costs. Outcomes of the work include improved mental, emotional and physical health; reduced isolation and loneliness; and an increased capacity for older people to live independently.