Age NI, the leading older people’s charity in Northern Ireland, is piloting a new drop-in advice service in its charity store at 13 Rathfriland Street, Banbridge, every Wednesday from 10am to 1pm.
An Age NI advisor will be available in the Banbridge store to provide independent and confidential support on a range of issues including care, health, housing and money.
The freephone Age NI Advice Service currently receives more than 10,000 telephone calls from older people, their carers and families every year.
Brenda Kearns, Head of Advice, says, 'This is staggering number of people in need and the reality is that we could be helping even more people to live a better later life across Northern Ireland. We are delighted to be piloting a drop-in advice service in our charity store in Banbridge once a week.
'People can drop in, or make an appointment with the staff in-store, to see the advice team from 10am to 1pm every Wednesday. We have a bespoke advice room upstairs where we can talk to people in confidence about any questions they may have about health, care, housing or money.
'All too often people don’t know who to turn to for that little bit of help. Calls to the Age NI Advice Service vary from a simple query about benefit entitlement, to more complex issues such as age discrimination and problems with health and social care. Age NI is here to listen and support.
'One of the services we offer which helps hundreds of people every year is a simple benefits check - it’s free and confidential. Many people don’t know about the financial support they are entitled to. Sometimes they are afraid to ask or are concerned about dealing with complex forms and questions. As a result millions of pounds go unclaimed every year in Northern Ireland. Last year alone, Age NI advisors identified £1.2 million in benefits unclaimed by people here.
'An older man we helped recently, with benefits and housing issues, puts it perfectly: 'However difficult life may seem, help is at hand. You must ask. Just get in touch with Age NI and see what you might be entitled to. Everything is totally confidential. What have you to lose? Don't wait!'
'That’s why we want to support more people in the Banbridge area to access the help they need.
'Our charity stores are often hubs of activity within local communities. People trust in our work for and on behalf of older people and they know that their worries and concerns will be treated with the utmost respect and confidentiality.
'We would encourage older people, their families or carers to drop into the Age NI Store at 13 Rathfriland Street to talk about any concerns they have.'