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Norwich charity pledges to tackle loneliness amongst the elderly this Christmas

PUBLISHED: 11:19 21 December 2018

Age UK Norwich fundraising manager Emma Roper with information and advice manager Jo Willingham at a pop up sessionl in the Forum, Norwich. Picture: Peter Kelley

Age UK Norwich fundraising manager Emma Roper with information and advice manager Jo Willingham at a pop up sessionl in the Forum, Norwich. Picture: Peter Kelley

Peter Kelley

A city charity for the elderly is reaching out at Christmas, as part of a national campaign pledging that 'no-one should have no-one.'

Age UK Norwich has been holding pop-up information sessions this month at major stores in the city and at The Forum, showcasing the range of help available.

Fundraising manager Emma Roper said: “We are always just a phone call or an email away for older people who are struggling - and, equally, for families and friends who are trying to organise assistance.”

The push to get the word out comes as the national charity, Age UK, highlights new YouGov research that shows 2.65m older people feel they have no one to turn to for help and support.

The national campaign points out that some of the challenges people often have to deal with in later life can be much harder to bear if you are facing them alone. These include coping with bereavement, tackling loneliness, getting the social care you need and managing health problems like dementia.

The survey found that a fifth of older people in the East of England who felt they had no one to turn to said this left them feeling lonely (20pc), isolated (21pc) or depressed (19 per cent).

Ms Roper said: “That’s why Age UK Norwich is urging people to support its campaign and donate to help ensure that the charity’s essential services - which range from social activities and befriending to drop-in advice, continue to be there for older people facing the challenges of later life alone.”

Staff and volunteers have run pop-up information displays at Asda and Morrisons stores in the city and were at The Forum.

Ms Roper added: “Age UK found that a large majority - 90 per cent - of people aged 65 and older from the East of England who took part in the survey said that being free of financial hardship is important in later life. That is certainly reflected in the city, with a high proportion of those who come to us for advice having issues over debt and benefits.

“But we offer advice on everything imaginable. At the Forum last week, for example, we had queries about welfare rights claims, about keysafe systems - which allow designated friends and family to access an emergency key outside an older person’s home - about staying independent and, of course, about volunteering.

“It’s worth remembering that a lot of our volunteers are older people themselves.”

Dan Skipper, chief executive of the city charity said: “We have a rapidly ageing population and it is heart-breaking to think that, across Britain, more than two and a half million older people feel they have no one to go to for help.

“The fact is that getting older can be really tough and however resilient you are it’s important to know someone will always be there for you, come what may.

“That’s what we aim to be for older people at Age UK and we know it makes a huge difference, especially for those with literally no one else they feel they can ask for help.”

To find out more about Age UK Norwich services, or how you can help, call 01603 496333 or see www.ageuk.org.uk/norwich.

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