Age UK suspends home visits and day care services in Richmondshire to concentrate on helping self-isolators

Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington is suspending many of its services to concentrate on supporting those self-isolating because of the coronavirus epidemic.

The charity says it will be making major changes to its services with immediate effect in order to best serve the community during the outbreak.

The charity has temporarily suspending all social activities, home visits and face-to-face appointments and befriending visits.

Information and advice services will continue to run with a telephone advice service only.

Day care services will also be closing during this time to reduce risk of transmission and to allow carers to focus on providing priority home care services.

The charity said in a statement: “The purpose of these changes are to allow Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington to maximise its resources to allow the charity to focus on providing the support needed by those who are self-isolating to maintain their health and wellbeing in order to reduce the burden on the NHS and Local Authorities, so that they can focus on helping those who need it most.”

In order to do this the charity will be concentrating all of its resources on the following areas:

  • Expanding telephone befriending services to prevent loneliness and ensure the wellbeing of self-isolating older people.
  • Introducing a hot meal referral service for self-isolating over 70s and vulnerable groups aged over 50, initially limited to Darlington and parts of Richmondshire only, to provide a 2 course basic set menu comprising a hot main course and dessert for only £5 including delivery. Orders can be made by calling 01325 741492 by 11am on the day needed or emailing catering@ageuknyd.org.uk. Payment is cash or cheque only at present but the charity is looking at providing card and bank payments as an alternative in future.
  • A temporary free volunteer shopping service where volunteers will collect shopping for older people and drop it off at their homes. The charity will also work with local supermarkets and food producers to try to ensure continuity of food supply for older people.
  • The charity has launched a local rate helpline number on 0300 30 20 100 for advice on how to access our extra services and a dedicated email address for concerns at coronavirus@ageuknyd.org.uk
  • Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington will also continue to post information on their website and social media channels including the latest relevant Government and NHS information for older people, advice on avoiding coronavirus related scams, virtual activities and will be posting advice and tips on how to cope with long-term isolation in the home.
  • Not all older people are able to access online services so in parallel with the online services the charity will also be developing non-digital alternatives including promoting volunteer pen-friends and a free newsletter including tips, advice, articles and puzzles. These will be made available in printed form and as digital downloads for people to print off and give to neighbours.

To provide these services the charity says it will need help from the community.

“There is a need for volunteers to become telephone befrienders, volunteer shoppers, to help deliver hot meals and help with answering the phones and other administration tasks.

“Many of the volunteer roles can be done on an evening or a weekend and will go a long way to help support those in the community and from home.

“In order to provide these services Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington is urging individuals and businesses to consider giving a financial donation to allow us to continue to provide these services through this time.”

The organisation says it will lose a large percentage of its usual income through the closure of activities, day care and the café and will need extra financial resources to cover the costs of running new community services.

Information on how to do this can be found on the charity’s website at www.ageuknyd.org.uk or by calling 01325 362832.

It added: “At this difficult time it is important to recognise that there are a number of other charities and new informal organisations that are being set up and mobilising to assist older people in the community.

“Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington will be aiming to work alongside these organisations to ensure that together we can deliver necessary help to older people without duplicating efforts and also to provide help and advice to other groups and organisations as needed.

“As a community we will be facing some difficult and challenging months ahead and Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington remains committed to ensuring that older people in the community are given the help and resources they need to get through this time.”

The charity said it looked forward to returning to delivering its full range of services soon.