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Coronavirus Statement

Published on 19 March 2020 01:31 PM

Age UK Lindsey has, with regret, made the difficult but necessary decision to postpone Lunch Clubs, Coffee mornings and Friendship Group meetings with immediate effect until further notice, due to the current coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a new illness affecting lungs and airways. Symptoms include a high temperature, a cough and shortness of breath – these could range from mild to extremely serious. At the time of going to press, there were a very small number of cases in the Lincolnshire area, though the figure is said to become much higher in the coming weeks.

CEO of Age UK Lindsey Andy Storer said: “Our lunch clubs, friendship groups and coffee mornings have been very successful, bringing people together from across the region to chat and share stories. Many new friendships have been made which is why we are truly saddened to temporarily postpone what is seen as a lifeline to the older people enjoying our events”.

“Of course, safety for our clients and also our staff and volunteers is paramount and it is important that we follow the advice of the Government and the NHS until further notice. We have taken this action as we don't want to risk the health of our communities and feel that it is important to avoid spreading the virus to vulnerable people through our own meetings and group gatherings.”

As the UK moves into the next phase of its pandemic plan, there is now talk that the over 70s will be asked to remain in self isolation until the worst of the infection is over. This could be up to four months, although China – where Covid-19 is said to have originated – is reporting a slowing down of new cases.

Andy continued: “As we are now aware, older people and those with unchecked, underlying conditions are at greater risk of contracting Coronavirus. We have to be mindful of all older people, volunteers and staff in these current conditions, as nobody is immune to the infection. We've also been seeing a wide range of family members, including young children, attending some of our coffee mornings and friendship groups so it is important to keep everyone safe.”

In line with this advice, Age UK Lindsey lunch clubs, coffee mornings and friendship groups in East Lindsey, inclusive of Skegness, Louth, Horncastle, Woodhall Spa and Mareham le Fen; West Lindsey, inclusive of Fiskerton and Market Rasen; and Barton in North Lincolnshire, will be postponed as of Thursday March 19th 2020. This will be reviewed at regular points in line with Government advice.

While charities and other organisations await further advice from Downing Street, Age UK Lindsey will make available both telephone befriending options and a range of wellbeing activity packs to support those who might be impacted by the closure of their source of social interaction. These wellbeing activity packs will be produced in partnership with TED (Talk Eat Drink) and include knitting patterns, searches, quizzes, stories etc with the hope of preventing older people feeling isolated or bored.

“Although we might not be able to offer support face to face, we would want to offer any help we can. We will work together with our key partners such as TED (Talk Eat Drink) to try and support our older people at this very difficult time.

Everyone needs to be vigilant as we fight coronavirus in our communities. The current advice is to regularly wash hands and for a minimum of 20 seconds when doing so. If you have no access to soap, use a hand sanitiser and always wash your hands when you get home from work, school or if you have been out and about. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and put the tissue straight into the bin. Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands aren't clean and avoid contact with people who are unwell. Try to remain a minimum of two metres away from people when you are talking to them.

If you are concerned that you may have the virus visit or for further advice,. Do not go to a GP surgery or to a hospital without first speaking with a health professional as you could spread the virus to other people.

Keep a keen eye on older people in the community and maintain contact through social media and by phone if you are unable to visit. If you need further help or advice on day-to-day activities, look on our website or call 01507 524242. For the latest updates on coronavirus and how Age UK Lindsey is rpesonding to the outbreak, follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Coronavirus Emergency Appeal - donate today

Age UK is aiming to raise £10 million to support older people during the coronavirus crisis. Every penny raised by the national charity counts, and your donation will help fund Age UK Lindsey's vital information, advice and befriending telephone support lines. Help us to help the older people in your community.