Offering a warm hand or a sympathetic ear to a lonely pensioner can really make a difference to their wellbeing.
As a result, staff and volunteers at Age Concern Central Lancashire make it their job to ensure the older community not only get access to vital services, but also gain friends through meaningful relationships.
Established in 1981, the organisation, based in Arkwright House, Stoneygate, Preston, aims to promote the wellbeing of older people and help make life a more fulfilling and enjoyable experience.
Services include: dementia help; independent living; support for members of the older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGB&T) community; and practical help to increase health and wellbeing.
Age Concern also celebrated the refurbishment of its shop in Market Place, Preston, which was officially re-opened last month by the city’s Mayor, Coun John Collins.
The organisation, which has 180 employees, recently took on three new recruits.
As the fund-raising manager, Ron Hutchinson brings a wealth of enthusiasm and hopes to encourage the community to give generously to help the aging population.
His previous jobs included serving in the army and chauffeur to the late Lord Leverhulme. Following Lord Leverhulme’s death in 2000, Ron started as a charity fund-raiser with Claire House Children’s Hospice, organising and leading challenges to Everest, Kilimanjaro, the Grand Canyon and Borneo.
He says: “In 2005 I was promoted to senior fund-raiser, and two years later was recognised nationally as Fund-raiser of the Year.
“Subsequently, I advised and consulted for Age UK and Marie Curie Cancer. In 2008 I took on the challenge of head of fund-raising for the Everton Foundation, a charity arm of the football club, engaging with people who were disabled, disadvantaged and socially excluded.
“It’s an honour to now work at Age Concern and I hope to achieve many great things.”
Amanda Taylor-Banks, project co-ordinator, promotes the awareness of LGB&T within Lancashire, bringing people together to discuss issues they face and offering individual support. She also delivers training to care home staff working with older people.
She says: “I have previously worked with people over 55 within sheltered accommodation, including welfare checks, dealing with professionals such as GPs, social workers, mental health teams, and assisting residents with issues such as benefits enquiries, bills, and doctor’s appointments.
“I co-ordinated six day centres which involved organising volunteers to cover activities within the centres and transport arrangements for the service users, outside activity providers.
“Away from the workplace I am a qualified football coach for an under-12s lads’ team.”
Nick Higham, promoting independence manager, manages the teams that provide initial, at-home services, assist with hospital discharge and provide benefit checks.
He says: “I previously worked in engineering before re-inventing myself in further education where I managed three training centres, helping get unemployed people back into work.
“I then progressed into charity work, was operations manager at an equine charity, service delivery manager for a local Citizens Advice office before arriving at Age Concern Central Lancashire earlier this year.”
As a charity, the organisation still relies on volunteers and fund-raising to keep its services running. If anyone is interested in fund-raising or volunteering email firstname.lastname@example.org.