Local Age UK takes huge funding hit during pandemic - calls on Government support


Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove (WSBH) is experiencing losses of £50,000 each month following the temporary closure of its centres due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, the charity is needed more than ever before and has transformed its services, handling thousands of referrals to help vulnerable older people locally. Age UK WSBH is urging the Government to step in with financial support as services are stretched.

The charity has already taken more than 3,000 referrals and is now focused primarily on food and medication deliveries. It is also supporting those feeling lonely during isolation and has already made over 700 phone calls to those who need a friendly chat and a listening ear.
 
Age UK WSBH is calling on the Government to provide it and other Age UK brand partners across the country with assistance at this time via a grant. This would come from funding already set aside to support charities. As Age UK supports one of the groups most affected by COVID-19, the organisation is urging MPs to ensure they benefit from this initiative.

Helen Rice, Chief Executive at Age UK Brighton & Hove said 'With our centres closed, we’re unable to make money to support ourselves. We’re also unsure how long older people will need to remain in lockdown, which is a real worry. We’re deeply concerned about their wellbeing and the acute loneliness many are feeling. Also, each day that goes by sees our losses mount. What we do know is we’re needed more than ever. We’ve had a number of clients overwhelmed or in tears on the phone as they are so grateful for our help. Our staff and volunteers are working tirelessly, so I can only hope that the Government recognises that and offer us some financial support at this terrible time.'

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove said 'Local charities like Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove are exactly the type of organisations the Government should be financially supporting at the moment. They are on the frontline of the community response to the pandemic, yet losing thousands in vital income each month through no fault of their own. I’ll be doing my bit to ensure their voices are heard when decisions are being made about charity funding.'

Age UK West Sussex and Age UK Brighton & Hove merged in July 2019. The charity offers support on issues like poverty, social care and loneliness as well as helping people make the most of later life. Members of the public who would like to donate to support Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove can do so by visiting www.ageuk.org.uk/westsussex or calling 01903 731800.

If you are self-isolating and need support, or if you’re worried about a friend or family member during this time, please contact 01903 731 800 or email information@ageukwestsussex.org.uk

For further information, please contact: Sally Sharpe on sallys@ageuk-bh.org.uk or T: 07734 130 524 or Vicki Rayment on vicki.rayment@ageukwestsussex.org.uk or T: 01903 731800.

Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove is following social distancing guidelines. People delivering donations can drop them on the doorstep, knock, then step away to help protect themselves and our staff/volunteers.

For more information about Age UK West Sussex please call the charity’s head office in
Littlehampton on 01903 731800. E; admin@ageukwestsussex.org.uk or visit W: www.ageukwestsussex.org.uk.
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