On Tuesday 20th December, BBC Points West did a feature on scams and loneliness. Older people who are isolated and have few social contacts are more at risk of being targeted by scammers. In many cases, they don't have an opportunity to check the veracity of the letter they are getting on the post or the information given by people on the other side of the phone.
Bristol Ageing Better is providing funding for local groups and organisations to create spaces for people to have those conversations and to become less isolated. Through Community Kick-Start Fund, there are over 50 new activities for people to take part and engage in social contact with others. One of this groups was featured in the BBC Points West piece and provides English lessons to older people from the Chinese community, supporting them in improving their communications skills and helping them become more aware of other opportunities within their community.
Bianca Rossetti, BAB Partnership Support Office, coordinates the Community Kick-Start fund was interviewed by the BBC reporter: "When people improve their wellbeing they are less likely to be targeted; and also if people are improving their language skills and communication, that increases awareness."
The Community Kick-Start Fund gives a group or organisation the opportunity to receive up to £2,000 worth of goods or services to start a new activity that can potentially increase social contact and participation among older people, or allow more older people to participate in an existing activity. Our application process is currently open, and the deadline to submit our 3-page application form is the 6th of January. Click here to find out more about this funding opportunity.
Emma Britton, on BBC Radio Bristol, dedicated part of her show to talk about this important issue. On air, she interviewed Age UK Bristol's Trustee Ashley Jones, who is also a Detective Sargent for the Avon and Somerset Police. He highlighted the fact that scams are fraud, and fraud is a crime, and people should report them. You can listen to the full interview here:
One of the key messages highlighted by the report was that people often don't report when they have been victims of these crimes as they might be feeling embarrassed and ashamed. Anyone can be a victim of scams, regardless of your age and background, and every day these tactics become more sophisticated making it hard for people to identify them as fraud. We encourage people to report these incidents and talk to their local authority, and also to encourage those who have been targeted to come forward.
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