We have a long history of helping older peopleOur background

The roots of Age UK Wirral go back to 1948 when, in a small office in Hamilton Square, an Old People's Welfare Committee was formed, specifically devoted to the welfare of elderly people in the Birkenhead area.

Back in those early days one volunteer provided an advice and information service for local elderly people, and during the early 70's a special house contents insurance service for elderly people - which had been developed by Age Concern England - was promoted locally by two volunteers. It was then that the organisation took the new name of "Age Concern Birkenhead" which it kept until 1988 when it was reconstituted as Age Concern Wirral, taking on responsibility of the whole area of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral.

The name of the organisation, its size and range of services have changed considerably over the years but our "raison d'être" has remained the same throughout this period of development up to the present day - to care for the older people of Wirral.

On Friday 20 May 2011 Age Concern Wirral became known as Age UK Wirral.

In the beginning

Age UK's origins lie in the Second World War, when everyone was experiencing shortages and many older people found themselves destitute.

The National Old People's Welfare Committee (NOPWC) was founded in 1940 and £2000 was raised through a radio appeal to help with the wartime emergency.  Visiting schemes for elderly evacuees were established, along with an Old People's Homes Advisory Service. Several local Old People's Welfare Committees (OPWCs) appeared in it's wake, coordinating voluntary action for the 'elderly infirm', and their numbers kept on growing after the war. By 1950 there were 831 OPWCs. These were the forerunners of the many Age Concern Organisations and Groups that exist today in cities, towns and counties across England and Wales.

In the 1930s, after a change in the law, local authorities took on much more responsibility for the welfare of local older people.  With most of the emergency work taken out of their hands, the OPWCs, and their national organisation the NOWPC, found themselves with more time to develop and improve their services.  One result was a study group to consider preparation for retirement.  This eventually grew into the Pre-Retirement Association, which is now an independent organisation.

 

The 1950s and 60s

The NOPWC in the 1960s was active in pioneer work, developing new services and new local groups. It also ran an advisory service, produced a quarterly journal, held national conferences and ran training courses for the voluntary staff who were (and still are) the backbone. It did not see itself as a pressure group but was consulted by government and gave information and advice to government departments.

Meanwhile, some OPWCs began to develop their work of informing older people about their entitlements and helping them with social security claims - a key part of the work of nearly every Age Concern today. The NOPWC helped by producing detailed information about relevant legislation, benefits and services - much as Age UK does today with its factsheets.

 

The 1970s

The cover name Age Concern was adopted in 1971 by national and local organisations alike, to reflect a new emphasis, focussing public opinion on the wider needs and interests of older people, instead of just the need to relieve extreme poverty.

 

The 1980s and 90s

Throught the 1980s and 1990s, Age Concern grew and developed into the largest movement providing services for older people in Britain.  By 2000, there were 1100 Age Concern Organisations and Groups providing a whole range of services, from lunch clubs through information and advice to holidays.

 

Age Concern in the 21st Century

In 2000, after a major review of how Age Concern was working, a new way was established of helping the many local organisations to work together with Age Concern England, the national body, to maintain the same high standards of service for older people.

The Age Concern Federation was born.

On 1st April 2009, Age Concern England and Help the Aged joined together to create a new charity dedicated to improving later life for everyone.  From April 2010, this new charity became known as Age UK.

In May 2011, Age Concern Wirral became a brand partner of Age UK, and adopted the Age UK name.  We are still a completely independent and autonomous local registered charity, responsible for raising our own funds and determining our own services, but we benefit from being part of an internationally recognised brand.