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Important Announcement (Closure)

Age UK Essex

Prior to the start of 2020, Age UK Essex had significant reserves and a regular income stream from Home Help, Toenails, Trading and fundraising. This income enabled us to operate our free services, namely Information and Advice and Befriending.

The COVID pandemic forced the closure of Home Help and Toenails, as we could not risk the virus spreading to our vulnerable older clients. In addition, just prior to this, Age UK closed down the trading operation of all local Age UKs which resulted in a significant reduction in our income.

The closure of these services meant we had to pay very significant redundancy payments to our staff, which depleted our reserves. Between 31st March 2019 and31st March 2021 they fell by just under £860,000.

Immediately after the pandemic began, some limited additional funding was temporarily available from trusts and other sources, and our staff are to be congratulated for their efforts in finding and tapping in to these sources. However, such funding is increasingly difficult to find and is becoming increasingly competitive. It also tends to be for small amounts for specific short term projects. This reflects a trend that was becoming apparent pre-COVID, whereby cuts in government and local authority funding meant that commitment to longer term funding was becoming less available, a trend that was already accelerating.

Although we still have some reserves, our business model, and the services we offer, depend on sustainable long term funding and income generating activities, none of which are available to us any longer. In addition, Age UK are unable to offer any financial support.

These taken together mean that, according to our latest financial projections, it is highly likely that the charity will be insolvent within about 2 years.

Accordingly, following a number of meetings over the past few months, the Trustees have concluded with very great regret that Age UK Essex should be wound up in an orderly fashion and that the interests of our staff, volunteers and our clients should be protected as much as possible.

We are conscious that the timetable for closure for individual services and support operations will vary dependent on individual factors relating to those services and areas. We are now working on the plans for those individual closures and we will advise those affected of the next steps in the closure process as soon as possible.

Finally, we would like you to know that this decision has not been taken lightly. We are immensely proud of our staff and volunteers and their reaction to the pandemic, which has resulted in major and critical help for our clients.

Mike Mahoney