Published on 30 March 2021 12:03 PM
More than £3 million in previously-unclaimed welfare benefits has been given to local older residents during the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to the efforts of Age UK Lindsey.
Operating with a reduced service due to COVID restrictions, our Information and Advice Service has worked with thousands of over 50s since March 2020. And a big success story has been the ability of the team to help people claim the benefits they were entitled to but had not applied for.
With our shops set for re-opening on Monday April 12, in line with government guidance, our Chief Executive Officer, Andy Storer, has also confirmed how much we are looking forward to rebuilding for a bright future post-COVID in this, our 30th anniversary year.
“We are a local charity based in the heart of local Lindsey communities and as such have a vital and on-going role to play in supporting our older people, extending some of the phone and virtual activities that have been successful during lockdown,” he said.
Our reach extends across East Lindsey, West Lindsey, and North Lincolnshire - taking in the towns of Skegness, Mablethorpe, Horncastle and Louth in the east, Gainsborough and Market Rasen in the west and Scunthorpe, Brigg and Barton-upon-Humber in the north.
Figures reveal how during this COVID-ravaged year, our Information and Advice Service has had contact with 8,383 different people. The team has made more than 100 applications for Blue Badges on behalf of its clients, delivered the Warm Homes programme to almost 200 more, and spread the scams awareness message as a verified Friends Against Scams organisation. This is in addition to the £3million benefit claims we have applied for on behalf of clients.
We have also continued to run our Befriending Service in East and West Lindsey and the HELP Befriending and Advice Project in North Lincolnshire with almost 2,500 hours of volunteering carried out by more than 50 dedicated volunteers. This has included more than 4,000 befriending phone calls, and the delivery of 214 ‘Thinking of You’ well-being packs and 210 newsletters.
With Befriending, and our new Keep Connected service, both making a big difference to older people over the last year, Andy added how this work would continue as lockdown eased with funding also won for investment into new digital opportunities and an outreach service.
“For many older people, the impact of COVID-19 has been a difficult experience, with the pandemic disproportionally impacting them, especially those over 65. We have seen high levels of anxiety, lack of confidence, low mood, lack of motivation, along with increased isolation and loneliness. Thankfully, we have been able to adapt our services to offer support and we are all looking forward to growing those services once more,” added Andy.