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Good Neighbours: Newham group aims to give local pensioners somewhere to meet up

16:43 09 January 2014

Kale Mehra with Ramesh Verma

Kale Mehra with Ramesh Verma

Archant

Elderly and vulnerable people hovering on the fringes of the community are not being ignored – thanks to a Newham-based charity.

The Ekta Project has been looking after isolated, frail people since 1986 and is particularly known for its specialist care of elders from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Whether recently bereaved, frail or disabled, elders can attend language-based befriending groups after subscribing for a small fee.

In February, the charity is also planning to take 27 elderly people on a sightseeing and shopping holiday to Dubai.

Founder of Ekta Project, Mrs Ramesh Verma said: “In the mid-70s, I did some research on services for elders of ethnic minorities. There was nothing there.

“With the lack of services, I found the main problem was isolation, leading to depression and mental health problems.

“I wanted to reduce that, so we set up Ekta Project to bring together older people who live on their own.”

Through the care groups, which take place at Durning Hall Community Centre in Earlham Grove, elders can access health checks, make friends and take part in sporting activities.

The charity’s minibus service is an essential lifeline for 50 elders, providing a link from their homes to the outside world.

Mrs Verma has been recognised for her projects across the country and received an OBE last year.

She said: “Our work is very important because we all know that the population is ageing.

“The elderly aren’t going anywhere and, at the same time, they have many health complications.

“To alleviate these issues, they need to receive a lot of care.”

To get involved with the charity, call 020 8514 5122 or visit ektaproject.org.uk.

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