A CHARITY which helps elderly people in Aireborough is hoping to expand its services after receiving a substantial lottery funding boost.

AVSED, Aireborough Voluntary Services to the Elderly with Disabilities, has secured funding of £163,617 through the Big Lottery. The money will be spent on a three year project to help older people live happy, healthy and independent lives within their own communities.

The project - Connecting Aireborough - will build on the work of a previous lottery scheme, and the charity's progress since it moved to Nunroyd Pavilion in Yeadon two years ago.

A spokeswoman for the group said: " Since our move our local presence has risen dramatically and we really have become a hub of knowledge and support for not only older people, but for the wider community in Aireborough. We see this as a key role for AVSED moving forward as we want to ensure our local older people have access to as many community and volunteer led resources as possible, and help to establish, support and expand them as much as possible.

"We have some exciting plans around enhancing some of our current activities, new collaborations and activities, and ensuring that the Pavilion has full access to the surrounding park area so building users and local residents can enjoy the wonderful green space which surrounds us here at Nunroyd Park."

AVSED Chairman Ken Elliott said: "I would like to thank the Big Lottery for supporting AVSED once again with our innovative application to care for older people in Aireborough. Also, the team who compiled the application and spent many, many hours making sure it would bring a higher level of involvement within our community.”

News of the funding was welcomed by Guiseley and Rawdon councillors Graham and Pat Latty.

They said: "Leeds is fortunate to have extensive coverage of Neighbourhood Networks and one shining star in that network is our own AVSED. We have been involved with them as long as we have been councillors and can truthfully say that if it were not for the work they do Leeds Adult Social Care would not be able to meet all its commitments as well as it does.

"AVSED and it’s volunteers can make £1 go a very long way. And they do it with a big smile that surely lights up the lives of the people they serve.

"They have to raise most of the money they need and this Lottery Grant will take off a little of the pressure and allow them to get on with the good work."

The grant will help the charity to enhance some of its current groups, and to start new activities for a wider cross section of older people. It will also establish, support and expand other local community led activities within Aireborough.

It is also planning to encourage more people to volunteer within their local communities and to work with more partners, including Friends of Nunroyd, Guiseley AFC and Aireborough Childminders Group

To volunteer for AVSED ring 0113 250 1702 or email info@avsed.org.uk. The charity is now looking to fill a new full time staff role -volunteer engagement officer - linked to the funding. Visit www.avsed.org.uk/JoinUs/StaffVacancies.

The independent charity works within the Leeds Older Peoples’ Neighbourhood Network, providing services to help people over 60.