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Helping hand for the elderly

PUBLISHED: 19:34 11 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:25 05 July 2010

HAVING A LAUGH: Age Concern Suffolk makes it easier for older people to enjoy life.

HAVING A LAUGH: Age Concern Suffolk makes it easier for older people to enjoy life.

A CHARITY is celebrating nearly 60 years of caring for older people in Suffolk.

Age Concern Suffolk is an independent local charity with its roots in Ipswich but has grown over the years and is well established in the Lowestoft and Waveney area.

A CHARITY is celebrating nearly 60 years of caring for older people in Suffolk.

Age Concern Suffolk is an independent local charity with its roots in Ipswich but has grown over the years and is well established in the Lowestoft and Waveney area.

It provides a wealth of services in all parts of the county and employs 450 staff supported by more than 700 volunteers.

“Our services could not exist if it were not for the invaluable help freely given by so many volunteers who offer support in a variety of roles from day care through to working in a shop,” said Sheila Blackmore, of Age Concern Suffolk.

Raising money locally to continue helping people is a major task.

The charity needs to raise £45,000 to run its helpdesks, £11,000 for the befriending service and £19,000 for the benefits advice service.

Because much of its work is carried out confidentially and the money raised is used on services rather than advertising. a lot of the charity's efforts go unreported.

Some of the services provided by the charity include:

Home visits by advisers who discuss problems and concerns about issues affecting daily living and put people in touch with services that can help.

Home visits to help people with organising their finances, running a bank account and setting up regular payments.

“If anyone has got a question for us we would be happy to receive a call,” said Ms Blackmore.

The charity's local helpdesk is situated in an office at the rear of its busy charity shop in Station Square, Lowestoft.

It is open between 9.30am and 1pm, Monday to Friday, when customer service assistants are pleased to receive inquiries either by personal callers or telephone.

“Our customer service assistants have a wealth of information about local services for retired people and are happy to answer questions from senior citizens, their families, friends and carers.

“We have many useful resources, such as lists of local self-employed tradespersons and we can also put older people in touch with basic legal advice and impartial advice on tax matters,” said Ms Blackmore.

Age Concern Suffolk also hosts regular information helpdesks in Beccles and Halesworth which give older people in these towns and surrounding areas the opportunity to talk to customer service staff face-to-face.

“Do come and talk to us, whatever the problem or need because if we can't help we often know of someone else who can,” said Ms Blackmore.

The charity is always pleased to receive donations and those donating can be assured that all the money will be used locally to support services featured.

Donations can be made in the Station Square shop or by contacting Maggie James on 01473 298688.

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