Freda and Jim met over 20 years ago and have 6 children,
11 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.
‘I was reading the Belfast Telegraph’ said Freda ‘and got the number for the Age NI Advice Service. I called and was put through to Brenda, one of the advisors.'
'We have had a few problems and I really needed someone to help point me in the right direction. I am still working but Jim is retired and has had a few mobility problems in recent years. He isn’t good on steps.
‘I had thought about phoning a few years ago but I didn’t think we were old enough to get help then’, said Freda. ‘But when I read about the charity again in the Telegraph, I felt I should lift the phone and find out if there was any help available. The article was about benefits but I needed help with other things too. ’
Freda and Jim have very steep steps at the back of their house from which they both have fallen.
Jim has had an adventure of a life. He spent his early years in Derry before moving to Belfast and eventually joined a showband called The Platterman and Dave Glover, playing guitar. He worked as a merchant seaman in bands, playing guitar on cruise ships in the South Pacific in the 1970s.
‘The ships were 29,000 tonnes of ocean-going splendour, every meal a banquet and every steward a film star. They were great times cruising Australia, the Tongan islands, Fuji and the Samoan islands’ said Jim.
'Phoning the Advice Service was brilliant', says Freda, 'Brenda was helpful and easy to talk to and knowledgeable about what I was asking.'
'An appointment was arranged within 3 days of my call for us to come in and see an advisor. As well as a benefits check, I was able to bring in other paperwork I needed help with and meet the person who was able to help us. I wish now I had lifted the phone a few years ago.’
Freda, who works for the electoral office, has been involved with community and women’s groups in Belfast throughout her life.
'We are younger, older people if you know what I mean, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need help. I really didn’t know who to ask for it either. The Belfast Telegraph article pointed me in the right direction. Our problems have been bugbears for many years now and we are finally, with Age NI’s help, getting them sorted out.'
The Age NI Advice Service, as well as conducting a benefits check, can refer people to other agencies who can help. In Freda and Jim’s case this was getting help with improving the accessibility of their home through an occupational therapist review.
£10 funds one benefits check. A successful benefits check will increase an older person’s income by £62 per week on average. That means your £10 could be worth 6 times more to an older person who needs Age NI’s help. You could be responsible for so many stories like Jim & Freda's... the good news stories.
If you know an older person in need of advice and support, contact the Age NI Advice Service on freephone 0808 808 7575 - we are here to listen and help.