How Age UK Lindsey has helped during the pandemic

More than £3million in unclaimed welfare benefit has been given to local older residents during the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to the efforts of Age UK Lindsey.

In charge: Age UK Lindsey CEO Andy Storer who has praised staff for their vital work.

Operating with a reduced service due to COVID restrictions, the charity’s Information and Advice Service has worked with thousands of over 50s since March 2020.

And, a big success story has been the ability of its team to help people claim the benefits they were entitled to but had not applied for.

With its shops set for re-opening on Monday April 12, in line with Government guidance, charity Chief Executive Officer Andrew Storer has also confirmed how Age UK Lindsey is looking forward to rebuilding for a bright future post-COVID in this, its 30th anniversary year.

He said: “We are a local charity based in the heart of local Lindsey communities and as such have a vital and on-going role to play in supporting our older people, extending some of the phone and virtual activities that have been successful during lockdown.”

A brand partner of the national Age UK, the charity’s reach extends across East Lindsey, West Lindsey, and North Lincolnshire - taking in the towns of Skegness, Mablethorpe, Horncastle and Louth in the east, Gainsborough and Market Rasen in the west and Scunthorpe, Brigg and Barton in the north.

Figures reveal how during this Covid-ravaged year, Age UK Lindsey’s Information and Advice Service has had contact with 8,383 different people – with more than 6,800 of those being calls directly to the charity.

Its team has made more than 100 applications for Blue Badges on behalf of its clients, delivered its Warm Homes programme to almost 200 more, and spread the scams awareness message as a verified Friends Against Scams organisation.

This is in addition to the £3million benefit claims it has applied for on behalf of clients.

It has also continued to run its Befriending Service in East and West Lindsey and its HELP Befriending and Advice Project in North Lincolnshire with almost 2,500 hours of volunteering carried out by more than 50 dedicated volunteers.

This has included more than 4,000 befriending phone calls made, and the delivery of 214 ‘Thinking of You’ wellbeing packs and 210 newsletters.

One of those volunteers is Senior Befriender, Avril Stevenson. The former primary school teacher is a keen community volunteer and decided to become an Age UK Lindsey Befriender after meeting older people in East Lindsey.

She said: “I enjoyed meeting and chatting to new people, many of whom had interesting stories to tell about their lives.

“Many of the older people were at times feeling very lonely and isolated which I found incredibly sad.

“I wanted to make a real difference to the wellbeing of people in my local community.”

While the Befriending and a new ‘Keep Connected’ service has made a big difference to older people during the last 12 months, Mr Storer explained how the work would continue as lockdown eased with funding also secured for investment into new digital opportunities and an outreach service.

•Age UK Lindsey’s Information and Advice Line is open from Monday to Friday, 9am until 12.30pm on 01507 524242.

You can also enquire about Befriending on the same number or see https://www.ageuk.org.uk/lindsey/