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Updated Tuesday 23 June

Please see all important updates to our services below

Diane Nicola, Chief Executive comments as follows:

"As you are aware, the government and the NHS continue to issue guidance regarding coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please see below, an update as to what measures Age UK Essex have put in place in order for us to manage our services as well as possible during the ongoing pandemic. 

First and foremost, we have a duty of care to our staff, volunteers, and clients. We also need to manage our services as efficiently as possible in a situation where much is out of our control, therefore we are controlling the things we can.

As an organisation we have put in place a number of measures to help reduce the risk of infection including anti-bacterial hand washes, additional signage and advice about hand washing as well as signposting people to government websites. 

We have in place a robust Business Continuity Plan which has been implemented. The plan is designed to ensure that we minimise the risk to the health of older people, staff and volunteers whilst at the same time ensuring that we can continue to support and provide services to older people and respect their choice to live independently.

The individual services outlined below are based on our Business Continuity Plan and Government guidance, whilst employment-based advice for our staff is being provided by ACAS and the government websites.

We will continue to take the advice given by the government and apply it in a practical way to our own services. 

As reassurance to our stakeholders we are happy to share the following information with you which addresses each service across the charity. Our services have their own continuity plan to cover the most recent events and in summary they are as follows:

Advocacy 

  • All staff working on our Advocacy related projects (Smart Life, PCN Link Workers etc) are working remotely continuing to supply reassurance, guidance and support.
  • In House Advocacy home visits haved stopped for the duration and will resume when we are better placed to deliver a risk free service.

Befriending

  • A contingency plan is in place and staff and volunteers have been informed of what to do in the event that they become unwell.
  • We are continuing with telephone befriending in the usual way.
  • Clients who are usually visited at home by a volunteer befriender are now receiving a telephone call as an alternative.
  • Telephone befrienders who would normally work from the offices are making their calls from home where possible.
  • Our befriending staff are working remotely and are still available via the normal office contact details (visit the Befriending service page for information) during the usual office opening hours.

Home Help 

Service closure announcement
Dated: 23 June 2020

Statement from Diane Nicola, Chief Executive

"After having suspended the service in April, it is with the deepest regret we are announcing the closure of our face to face Home Help service. Our Board has taken the difficult decision that it cannot guarantee to fulfil our duty of care to both staff and clients by continuing this service given the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We will continue to care for our clients by offering new ways of support without the need for entering their homes, including providing free emergency shopping deliveries and regular well-being calls. We will continue to deliver our other services including free Information and Advice and Befriending during this unprecedented time. It is important to us that our clients receive emotional and practical support in a safe way and that our clients and staff are not placed at risk in delivering a service.

We will endeavour to ensure that the vulnerable people with whom we work, should know to whom they can turn, during this time of extended isolation to receive support. We remain committed to the older people of Essex."

Age UK Essex will provide key services such as Information and Advice, Befriending, well-being calls and emergency shopping deliveries free of charge. All Home Help clients have been informed and made aware of alternative services from Age UK Essex and how to find additional support from other organisations.

Statement from the Board of Trustees

“We have reached this decision with huge regret, having wrestled with the issues involved and reluctantly decided there was no alternative. We fully support the measures put in place to continue to support those in need including free well-being calls and free emergency shopping. We would like to thank all the Home Help staff for their dedication and hard work to deliver this service in recent years.”

Q&A's relating to the Home Help service

 Other contact details for support outside Age UK Essex 

Details of district, borough or city councils in Essex:

Basildon Council - 01268 533333
Braintree Council - 01376 552525
Brentwood Council - 01277 312500
Castlepoint Council - 01268 882200
Chelmsford Council - 01245 606606
Colchester Council - 01206 282222
Epping Forest Council - 01992 564000
Harlow Council - 01279 446655
Maldon Council - 01621 854477
Rochford Council - 01702 546366
Southend Borough Council - 01702 212497  
Tendring Council - 01255 686868
Uttlesford Council - 01799 510510

Fundraising & Marketing/networking events/promotion

  • Our team are not attending any planned events in the foreseeable future until it is safe to resume usual practice. 
  • Services are not being actively promoted within the community where there is to be any type of gathering until it is safe to resume usual practice.
  • An urgent appeal has been set up to help provide funding to continue the support being offered to older people during the Corona crisis. 
  • For regular updates follow us on social media. 

Information and Advice

  • The Information and Advice staff continue to work remotely from home.
  • If staff become unwell, our contingency plan involves extending the existing integration with the National I&A line if need be. 

Management support 

  • As we use a cloud based system across the charity, our staff are able to carry out most daily/normal functions as usual.

Volunteers

  • Our amazing volunteers have been asked not to visit anyone in their own home, however, we are inviting all volunteers to take on other roles in the interim period, such as telephone befriending, to address the debilitating effects of loneliness and/or social isolation.
  • Our volunteers are making telephone befriending calls, wellbeing calls and making emergency food parcel deliveries in order to support people as much as possible throughout this extended period of isolation.

I will continue to monitor our charitable support and activities in accordance with the latest government guidance and news reports as they unfold on a daily basis, and the above information may be subject to change going forward.

Please be assured that we have a very experienced and strong team at Age UK Essex which is made up of Senior Management staff, operational and frontline service staff and volunteers who operate across the charity and together, we are continuously working to mitigate risk, whilst delivering the valuable services that are so important to our clients, their families/carers more than ever before. 

In the meantime, we will continue to provide updates as necessary."

Useful websites with up to date information

Age UK advice

World Health Organisation

NHS UK Questions Answered

Government information

BBC UK News