Elderly drop-in sessions axed due to funding cut

PUBLISHED: 11:00 29 April 2017

Age UK Somerset IT course

Age UK Somerset IT course

Archant

A charity which supports elderly people has had to cut its valuable drop-in sessions due to a loss of funding.

Age UK Somerset use to run monthly sessions in towns and villages across North Somerset to enable people over 60 to talk to staff about care issues, benefits and money, housing and support services.

However, following a drop in funding, the charity has been forced to stop the face-to-face meetings, and is instead encouraging people to access support via its helpline.

Phil Dolan, chief executive of Age UK Somerset, said: “We are desperately disappointed we’ve had to withdraw the drop-in sessions.

“We are encouraging people to ring straight through to our information and advice line instead. It’s going to be the same advice and help but over the phone rather than face-to-face.

“Our funding sources are from lots of different pots. We had some money from local authorities, some from the health sector and also from legacies. All of that has dropped.

“We had to look closely at all our services to make sure we were providing the best value. Unfortunately, the information and advice sessions fall on us as a cost.

“As much as we’d like to provide face-to-face support, we’ve got the central number that people can ring, so the service has not been totally lost.

“It’s a service which has been valued by a lot of people. If we can’t help, we can signpost people to an organisation that can.

“We get a lot of queries related to the attendance allowance, which our staff are trained to help people with. People find the forms very complicated and difficult to fill out.”

Drop-in sessions in the rest of Somerset were stopped last year.

Age UK Somerset offers a wide range of support for people over 60 including a befriending service, information and advice, social groups and activities such as cooking and computer skills.

People can now access information and advice on 01823 345613.


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