Age UK Norfolk began in 1947 as Norfolk Older People’s Welfare Committee.
This followed a need to find ways to provide basic help and assistance to older people during the aftermath of the war years and to provide a voice for their rights and dignity.
It grew as an organisation out of the many clubs and groups organised for and run by older people throughout the county.
This grassroots membership is still an important part of the way Age UK Norfolk works with older people, as is finding a voice for older people, whether this is directly through campaigning and advocacy or indirectly through providing information and advice to older people.
During the 1970s the first paid staff were employed to manage the increasing work of the organisation, particularly when we were asked to manage the county council’s new short stay residential home, Ethel Tipple Court, in 1977 (this service has now moved to Grays Fair Court in New Costessey).
Throughout the 1980s the type of services and support that the organisation provided for older people continued to increase with the introduction of a home security service and a vacancy advisory service for residential homes. The first charity shop also opened to provide much needed independent income for the charity.
It was in the 1990s, however, that Age UK Norfolk changed and grew dramatically with the changes in government legislation concerning community care and the change to contracting for services. Since then the charity has seen more than a threefold increase in paid staff to 150 members and a similar increase in volunteers to over 250.
These have been due to substantial increases in services and support that are now provided by Age UK Norfolk, including day centre provision in three different locations around the county, and the increase of its core work of community development and information and advice provision. The head office of the charity moved twice during the 1990s to accommodate the changes in its growth.
This has allowed for the assets of the charity to be increased by the purchase of a building for its head office. It has also meant that a separate building could bespecially renovated for use as a training centre by the voluntary and public sectors as well as for its own staff.