Age UK East London's CEO, Jane Caldwell, has been profiled in the "Heroes of the COVID-19 response: the women you know, and some you may not… yet" article published by the Centre of Public Impact.
"I take my lead from a woman aged 101 who had three care visits a day. In the first week of COVID, she asked whether she could donate her evening visit to someone who needed it more."
Age UK is a federation of around 140 independent charities supporting older people across the country. Jane Caldwell is the CEO of Age UK East London, working with over 9,000 older people in hospitals, the community and their homes, as well as a member of the CPI People’s Panel. Though East London boroughs are vibrant and diverse, they have the highest deprivation of income for older people in England.
Jane and her team responded swiftly to COVID-19; expanding services in hospitals, and increasing support for those at home. They mobilised faster than many health and social care systems, immediately providing humanitarian support to other groups made vulnerable by COVID-19 including rough sleepers, those with no recourse to public funds, and women escaping domestic violence. “All staff working on the frontline were given the option to be re-deployed, none were furloughed and everyone was given full pay when isolating. As a leader, I felt it was important to carry the voices of those who have been disproportionately affected by the virus.”
Jane’s leadership rests on the values of “resilience, inclusivity, humour, empathy and understanding that getting the best outcome is more important than winning an argument”, as well as the abilities to manage anger and self-regulate. She highlights the importance of taking responsibility and swift decision-making; “It helps that I lead an organisation of creative problem solvers. I could act quickly and be a step ahead because we think about the whole person. For example, I asked commissioners for a slush fund to buy whatever needed for whoever needed in the first few weeks, whether toilet roll and tampons, or phones and SIM cards.”
Age UK East London’s coronavirus response has proved successful, having taken more than 1,300 people home from hospitals, and delivered over 80,000 meals.
To access the full article please click here.