A Message from Age Concern Epsom & Ewell’s Chief Officer – Dorah May Hancock
Dear Age Concern Epsom & Ewell Supporters,
I hope you are all well and are keeping safe. My name is Dorah May Hancock – Chief Officer at Age Concern Epsom & Ewell and I would like to take this opportunity to contact our supporters personally with an update regarding our services during the Coronavirus pandemic. We are all living through unprecedented times at present, with the Coronavirus affecting each and every one of us on varying levels.
Age Concern Epsom & Ewell’s mission is to provide a range of services for older people that improves their lives and enables them to be socially active and independent. The Coronavirus is a direct threat to our charity’s mission, and we will work as hard as we can to ensure that we bridge the gap between our older community members and the wider society, until this pandemic ends.
Age Concern Epsom & Ewell have been working in partnership with Epsom & Ewell Borough Council and Central Surrey Voluntary Action to provide immediate relief within our community. Our main purpose, in line with these new partnerships, is to provide essential, new, relevant services to the older members of our community. We are working very hard to try and assist our older and more vulnerable residents to stay as happy and healthy as they can during social isolation. We are able to do this by providing clients with emergency essential shopping, telephone befrienders to help alleviate feelings of loneliness, letters from local children and adults to lift spirits and providing essential prescription deliveries. Due to such high demand for our services within the local community, we took the decision three weeks ago to extend our Information & Advice Helpline opening times. This now means that our lines are open from 9am – 4pm Monday – Friday on 01372 732 456. Please do feel free to offer this number to anyone within the Epsom & Ewell Borough, who you feel may need our assistance, although we are closed over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
Last week we released some interim figures which illustrated how many clients we had assisted so far. However, the need for our services have dramatically increased this past week with these numbers spiking, and we expect this need to continue to increase in the coming weeks.
We are proud to say that to date we have called 3500 of our elderly clients by telephone to offer reassurance and to check on their welfare, and we have 1600 clients remaining to call. We have assisted 188 of our clients with emergency shopping and prescription deliveries, of which 98 have been direct referrals from community members, family members or volunteers. 70 of our face-to-face volunteer befrienders have now become telephone befrienders to help our clients to feel less alone. We have had over 50 people register their interest in volunteering with Age Concern Epsom & Ewell for the first time and so far have been able to enroll 34 new volunteers to assist us with our Coronavirus Relief Effort. We have been very grateful to receive 21 letters from local school children and adults from the local community for our elderly clients.
We would not have been able to assist our clients on such a scale without our dedicated and compassionate team of volunteers and staff, who have been going above and beyond to help us deliver a seamless service. A simple thank you does not feel sufficient.
Dawn Austwick, OBE, Chief Executive, National Lottery Community Fund said this week “I’ve been inspired by how charities and voluntary groups have stepped up to support people and communities through this crisis.” I can say she is not alone. I am blown away by the level of support and community spirit that we are receiving within the heart of Epsom & Ewell.
We have a message from Age Concern Epsom & Ewell’s Chair of Trustees – Doug Earle for our supporters, clients and our amazing community, “Once we get over this current attack on our society, it is fair to say that our way of life will never be the same again, and the changes will be quite dramatic. We will realise how little we need, how very much we actually have and the true value of human connection. So, in the meantime please keep safe and stay home as much as feasibly possible.“
I would finally like to wish you and your families a very Happy Easter – Please do enjoy your Bank Holiday weekend safely and in line with government guidelines.
Take Care and Stay Safe
Dorah May Hancock