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The importance of our supporters - now and in the future

A young woman speaking happily with an older woman

Working together

Chief Executive Paul Farmer discusses the difference Age UK's supporters have made to our life-enhancing services - and will continue to make as we work to ensure every older person feels included and valued.

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I had a very busy day recently that reminded me of the key ingredient to our work.

PaulFarmer500x500.jpgFirstly, I visited Age UK Waltham Forest to take part in their Tuesday table tennis club. I was struck by the energy of the group, the competitiveness of their playing, and the warm enthusiasm of the volunteers who organise these sessions on a weekly basis. It’s a lovely example of people coming together to create something simple but special.

I noticed there were many service users at Age UK Waltham Forest who were in their fifties. It was a reminder what a broad church ‘older’ is when we’re discussing older people. With an ageing population, the importance of places and services like this is only going to increase.

Later that same day, we hosted an event for some of our financial supporters, to discuss our new strategy. Many of those supporters have been with us for decades, with some pre-dating the merger between Age Concern and Help the Aged that formed Age UK.

Then and now, it is people who are at the heart of everything we do. We are a people organisation. People have informed our new strategy. We’ve listened to the older people we support, and the people who support us, about what they want Age UK to focus on. There were many answers, but they were underpinned by fundamental ideas – including the importance of ensuring that every older person feels included and valued in our society.

We will do this by ensuring the Age UK Advice Line continues providing free information and advice, every single day of the year, to those in need of support. And by keeping our friendship services working, with the aim that every lonely older person has someone to talk to. And by campaigning to tackle inequalities.

As we look ahead to working shoulder to shoulder with older people to transform attitudes to ageing, our supporters will be as vital to those efforts as ever.

Paul Farmer

There are so many ways that people support Age UK, of course. There are our loyal supporters who donate on an ongoing basis, and even remember Age UK with gifts in their wills, who power the vital work we do. And we can only continue to be here in future years thanks to our donors’ loyalty and generosity. We know from the past few years that financial security is incredibly important in allowing us to respond to the immediate and longer term challenges.

There are those of you who support us by volunteering your time to assist older people or by campaigning for their rights. Others who donate to our shops or pick up a bargain or two from them. And those who give as individuals or as part of the organisation you work for.

Some of you may fundraise by doing something you love – or something that pushes you out of your comfort zone. Next month, there will be people running the TCS London Marathon in aid of Age UK. Many of you will be volunteers for our telephone friendship service and will have felt inspired by the regular calls you make to do more to support older people experiencing loneliness and isolation. Others will be tackling those 26.2 miles in memory of a beloved older person in their life – perhaps a parent, grandparent, family friend or neighbour.

Whatever your reason for lacing up your trainers, or donating the clothes you no longer wear, or setting up a regular donation, your efforts are so appreciated.

As we get to the end of this financial year, I just want to thank all of you who have supported Age UK over the past 12 months and beyond. I’m proud to lead a voluntary funded charity-it ensures we keep our independence and inspires us to change the experiences of older people locally, nationally and internationally.

Looking to the future, that support is needed more than ever.

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Last updated: Mar 28 2024

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