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Our year 2019/20

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At Age UK we’re only able to make later life better for older people because we act together with others. Here’s how, with your support, we’re helping more of the older people who need us the most.

Read the full report

Read the full Report of the Trustees and Annual Accounts 2019/20 online, or download it as a PDF.

Responding to the coronavirus pandemic

While this page and our annual report document our work in 2019/20, we cannot but reflect on the catastrophic effects the coronavirus pandemic has had on older people’s lives, and its consequences for Age UK and its partners in the UK and internationally. You will find a small explanation of how our work has adapted under each key area.


Campaigns and research

Our three-year objective: We’ll make the most difference to the most disadvantaged older people through effective campaigning and influencing, underpinned by policy work and research.

What we achieved last year

The 2020 pandemic

The research is clear: older people have been medically and societally affected by the pandemic in a disproportionate way. We have been lobbying the Government on a whole range of issues including getting PPE to care homes and social care providers, financial support for the voluntary sector during the pandemic, a furlough-style scheme to protect at-risk older workers, COVID-19 testing in care homes, providing help with food shopping, safeguarding issues, and digital exclusion.

What we spent

£14.1 million

Our strategy to 2021 and beyond

The pandemic has exposed and deepened the impact of a whole host of inequalities. Age UK will redouble our efforts to work with older people and make sure their voices are heard and their best interests are protected.


Information and advice

Our three-year objective: We’ll reach out to older people, their carers and their families, to support them with the impartial, personalised and expert information and advice they need.

What we achieved last year

The 2020 pandemic

We were able to move our advice line quickly and effectively to our advisers’ homes without interruption. Keeping the line running was essential as there was exceptionally high demand, with over 3,500 extra calls answered in March. Visits to our website were unprecedented too, with 1.3 million visitors to our new coronavirus hub and related content from the beginning of March to the end of lockdown at the beginning of July. As the pandemic continues and older people continue to navigate our 'new normal', demand for our information and advice services remains strong.

What we spent

£7.7 million

Our strategy to 2021 and beyond

The pandemic has shown how vital information and advice is to people, especially telephone advice if face-to-face becomes impossible. We are accelerating our work and in 2020/21 will collaborate with local Age UKs to test out new approaches and expand the Age UK Advice Line so we can help more older people.


Health and care

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Our three-year objective: We’ll enable older people to have access to high quality, locally available services that address their health and care needs, provided by the Age UK network.

What we achieved last year

The 2020 pandemic

Social distancing meant many of the vital services provided by local Age UKs were forced to adapt or close, just when they were needed most by older people. We provided support and guidance to the network who mobilised immediately to do all that it could to support local communities, from shopping and medication deliveries, to food parcels and befriending. We’ll keep providing the Age UK network with the support it needs.

What we spent

£3.7 million

Our strategy to 2021 and beyond

The pandemic has changed the landscape of the services provided by local Age UKs. The financial consequences of the lockdown have put under serious threat some pre-pandemic services and, in the worst cases, local Age UK charities. This could be devastating for local communities at a time when these services are most needed. We are doing what we can to help them find funding sources and improve their viability.


Wellbeing

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Our three-year objective: We’ll deliver wellbeing programmes that have a big impact on wellbeing and provide long-term benefit to the Age UK network’s services.

What we achieved last year

The 2020 pandemic

The pandemic has profoundly affected the wellbeing of many older people. The Silver Line, which recently joined Age UK, has been a lifeline for thousands of older people. Their callers were lonely and anxious before the pandemic, lockdown, and shielding but are now more unsure of the world and overwhelmed by what’s happening. At its peak, the number of people calling the helpline went up by 63% to 1,899 calls in one day. As with the Age UK Advice Line, we supported our staff to work from home so they could continue this vital service. The Silver Line’s, and Age UK’s, Telephone Friendship Services have also experienced unprecedented demand, with a 289% surge in the number of requests. In total, by the end of August 2020, we’re now supporting 2,948 friendships supported by 2,842 volunteers. No matter what comes next, our incredible staff and volunteers will be there to provide emotional support and friendship.

What we spent

£12.1 million

Our strategy to 2021 and beyond

We’ve been planning how to get our wellbeing programmes running again in a way that is safe for older people, staff and volunteers. Our programmes that relied upon visiting older people’s homes will become phone-based from the autumn. We are also exploring the delivery of services online where this is possible and hope to test online group activities. 


Age UK network

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Our three-year objective: We’ll secure a strong and enduring local presence of Age UKs and other community organisations to deliver the support and opportunities that local older people need.

What we achieved last year

The 2020 pandemic

The Age UK network mobilised immediately to respond to older people’s needs during the crisis, quickly adapting their services and introducing new ways to support people. But the sobering reality is that the pandemic has affected our partners’ finances, in some cases, very seriously: forcing service closures, staff redundancies, and in a few cases, the closing of local Age UK doors for good. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been working with the network to help them respond. While short-term success is vital, so too is an enduring presence of local support for older people, so we’ve re-started our work on co-creating a 10-year shared strategy that has our beneficiaries at its heart.

What we spent

£11.6 million

Our strategy to 2021 and beyond

We launched ‘The Big Conversation’ in January 2019 to develop a shared vision and strategy for the whole network for the next decade. We were making strong progress - then the pandemic hit. Rather than proceed with the next phase, we pressed pause, recognising that we all needed to focus our attention and efforts on helping older people. However, when the scale and duration of the pandemic became clear we realised that the network’s long-term support for older people was under threat. We have re-started and hope to accelerate our discussions, within a radically changed operating environment where our social impact and future success are perhaps more important than ever. 


International

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Our three-year objective: We’ll achieve a step change in the quality and scale of our humanitarian work and we’ll influence other agencies to ensure that older people are included and protected when emergencies happen.

What we achieved last year

The 2020 pandemic

The coronavirus is a global pandemic. In low-and middle-income countries, health systems are weak and older people with pre-existing conditions are most at risk of getting COVID-19. By the beginning of April, we had quickly adapted most of our programmes to respond to the new needs created by COVID-19. We have been supporting work in 30 countries with the most marginalised older people and those with disabilities. In some countries we are providing hygiene kits; soap, disinfectant, gloves and masks; in others, we are raising awareness through public messaging tailored for older people; and elsewhere we are training frontline staff and volunteers so they can deliver the best support possible.

What we spent

£14.4 million

Our strategy to 2021 and beyond

The future looks dramatically different for many older people in low to middle income countries due to the pandemic. We are reviewing what specifically we need to do to continue to adapt to the current circumstances and to help older people, especially those most at risk. However, our strategy remains sound. 

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Last updated: Jan 14 2021

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