Vegetarian for Life administers two charitable funds, The Vegan Fund and The Vegetarian Fund. The Funds were launched in 2010, and we were pleased to award the first grant in May 2010 - for a stair lift to enable a vegetarian lady to move out of care, back to her own home, to resume independent living. Since then we have awarded a number of further grants, including assistance with relocation, a bath aid, vegetarian/vegan cookery courses for older people in Wales, a mobility scooter, a cooker and for fitting a downstairs shower room.
In 2014, VfL commissioned a repeat survey of care homes, where we found that the percentage of vegetarians and vegans in care is quite small, at only 1.69% of residents, compared to 3% in the general population. This may well be because older vegetarians and vegans are more likely to be independently-minded and try to remain in their own homes for longer. They may also, of course, be healthier for longer. There comes a time, however, when some older people find it increasingly difficult to stay in their own homes, possibly due to health problems such as arthritis or general mobility problems. Financial assistance may be available, but can be difficult to access due to a great deal of demand. This is where the funds hope to help.
In 2020 the charity awarded a grant for a dishwasher to help with the tiredness, back spasm and migraines experienced, especially when preparing vegan and vegetarian meals for myself. The cutting up of vegetables and cooking takes up so much energy and saucepans would be left for days, as it was impossible to wash them for the next day. Many days there is not enough energy to cook as well, so one was left eating snacks and missing out on good protein.
Once the dishwasher was working - PARADISE! All the saucepans cleaned, leaving energy for the
preparation and cooking and having clean crockery and china in which to serve meals. Depression left, as the sink and dish drainer started to appear almost empty, no used crockery and pans around anymore and the kitchen now feels very pleasant to be in. It means that the vegan diet with only very occasional vegetarian additions (organic vegetarian cheese if
soy cheese is not available), can be planned in advance and there is now enough energy to keep to the menus and some enjoyment at being able to plan vegan meals with all of the necessary proteins etc and actually cook and eat them!
Thank you. This really has helped to change my diet, the kitchen and most importantly, my experience of day-to-day health.’
Mr K is a lifelong vegetarian who was struggling to live independently when his mobility scooter stopped working. He applied for a VfL grant for a Pride Mobility Scooter, and has regained some independence.
I was struggling too much without a scooter. My life was ending and the scooter helps me get outside. I really appreciate your kindness and support.
64 year-old Yvette became vegetarian after partaking in one of V for Life’s cookery courses. Yvette has recently been struggling to get out and about due to a number of health issues, and so applied for a laptop from the Vegetarian and Vegan Fund so she can keep in touch with people and research from the comfort of her own home.
The grant’s changed my life because I don’t have to go to the library or internet shops to use the computer anymore. I encountered lots of problems there, the computers were all booked, and you don’t have enough space to manoeuvre in the tiny cubby holes. When I wasn’t feeling well I still had to make sure I went, but now I don’t have to and can work from home and it’s comfortable. It’s definitely changed things for the better. I use the laptop for all the things I have to look up, and it’s really useful for typing letters, as I don’t enjoy writing by hand anymore.
The grant scheme is definitely worthwhile. I didn’t think I’d get it, and was shocked when they said yes! I thought that because V for Life has to give to so many people, they wouldn’t be able to say yes to me. But they did. It’s a very good scheme.
84 year-old Stella has been vegan for over 30 years. The past few years have been extremely challenging for her because her hearing has deteriorated rapidly. This has left her feeling isolated from those around her, whom she struggles to understand.
After years of being withdrawn from society and nodding and smiling in what I hoped were the right places, I can now converse with people without constantly asking them to repeat themselves. It is very liberating, with my confidence boosted no end.
When she heard about the Vegan Fund she thought it could be her solution. Stella received her new hearing aid in December 2017, thanks to the Vegan Fund.
John ‘Maz’ Marriott was diagnosed with M.E. in 2009. Maz has been vegan for 30 years, is author of low-budget vegan cookbook “The Chip Butty Vegan”, and huntsabbed since he first became vegan up until recently when he had to stop due to his health.
Maz is dependent on a carer and a mobility scooter – and when his scooter broke he found himself mainly confined to the house. Since his new scooter awarded by the Vegetarian and Vegan Fund arrived, Maz has been back at demonstrations in the city centre and in muddy fields, and we were lucky enough to meet him in person at VegFest UK.
“I had to come and see you all and thank you in person.”
Isobel S is a 70-year-old vegetarian woman living in Llanrhaeadr. Isobel initially contacted Care and Repair because she needed funds to repair the roof of her house. The roof was leaking and making her home damp and cold. Care and Repair and Vegetarian for Life have since worked together to achieve a successful result for Isobel.
The contractors have now completed the repair to the front and back of my roof. They have done a lovely job – it is wonderful that this work has been done and I do not have to worry about the roof leaking any longer. The work has also made my home a lot warmer, which is an added bonus. I am really grateful for the help that I have received from Vegetarian for Life.
59-year-old Peter D is a vegan from Norfolk. He has arthritis and successfully applied to the Vegetarian and Vegan Fund for assistance with the purchase of a mobility scooter and shopping trolley/walker.
After receiving the grant Peter said:
This will mean so much to me. The scooter is absolutely fantastic and gets me around much better. The shopping trolley is especially for people with arthritis. With a metal plate in my wrist it will be a whole lot easier for me now and less painful. It will make my life more comfortable because my joints get quite stiff at times.
And a grant from the Vegetarian and Vegan Fund allowed for kitchen and flooring repairs for Mrs P, an older vegetarian.
“My floors were so damp that it kept coming up through the floor and was getting worse. It was not possible to put any flooring down (carpets or wood) because it would have been spoiled by the damp. Obviously this was not helping my health at all and the room was just not useable. Also, my sink was falling to pieces!
“With the money I have been able to get insulation, the rotten flooring removed, a new solid concrete floor, and the floors tanked so no more damp can get in. It has made such a difference and my room looks like a proper room again when it was just such a mess before. They also fixed my sink!
Mr A and his wife are both vegetarian with health problems. His wife in particular has mobility problems and needed the downstairs bathroom that VfL assisted with.
These renovations would not have been possible without your kind offer. It will make a life changing improvement for my wife.
Shirley K, a vegan in her late 70s is now able to get out and about thanks to a grant from the Vegetarian and Vegan Fund.
I am truly grateful to Vegetarian for Life for buying me my mobility scooter. The direction of my life was narrowing because my walking ability had deteriorated, but is now able to expand again.
Shirley applied in Spring 2011 but it took some time to get the right scooter for her. Eventually the right model was tracked down from Kardinal and the grant covered the full cost of the mobility aid. Shirley, from Brighton, is a life member of Animal Aid and has been vegan for over 30 years.