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Charity Services Blog - January 2020

Snowy trees

Published on 10 January 2020 01:17 PM

Charity Services Blog – (January 2020) by Yvonne Probert, Head of Charity Services

Happy New Year, welcome to the 20s and a new decade; as we close the door on another year, I can look back over 2019 and reflect that it has been a year with some challenges but also with great successes too.

Age UK North Tyneside has seen some projects end like Home from Hospital, Living with and Beyond Cancer and the transfer of the Social Prescribing Service to a new provider.

2019 has been a year of change for all of the voluntary sector; however we have successfully maintained our core services of Information & Advice and Community Development. We have welcomed in new ventures like Friendly Faces, Befriending and North East Older Offenders Services, as well as extensions to our Falls Prevention (strength and balance training) and Care Plus scheme. In addition we’ve delivered to the growing demand for our Dementia Connections Service.

Since my last blog, we celebrated Age Takes Centre Stage, a month long festival held every year October to recognise and celebrate older age. Age UK North Tyneside hosted the awards ceremony at Wallsend Hall where the winners from the 5 categories were announced. These awards recognised the accomplishments and contributions that local people are making to assist other to make more of life. Sitting in the audience on that day listening to all the nominations, made me feel really proud of what the volunteers in North Tyneside achieve for older people; looking forward to 2020 I hope that the awards and the appreciation of their efforts will encourage them to continue with their good work going forward.

Also in the autumn, we finalised our community consultation asking what people over 50 in North Tyneside felt they wanted and needed to enable them to enjoy later life. We received 518 completed surveys from across North Tyneside, with the average age of the participants being 68 and there was an even spilt from across the four localities within the borough.

  • The main concerns people had were about growing older were health, finance, independence, mobility, social care, social isolation and loneliness.
  • As for what would make older people’s lives easier, the results showed finance, health, social groups, transport, support and advice as being required.
  • Other things affecting older people were access to services, transport, technology and being undervalued.
  • The consultation identified new services required as being more groups, help at home and access to information support.

The survey results were reassuring as many of our existing projects go towards addressing some of these community wants and needs but the results also gave us food for thought on our direction of travel going forward.

We are now setting out our 2025 Strategy for Age UK North Tyneside and we hope to be sharing that with our stakeholders and customers in the spring.

Now we are looking to 2020 and even in the first week of January we have already started with new opportunities.

  • The charity will manage Jarrett’s Community Café at the Bradbury Centre, our focus will be to build on the existing catering offered to add in more social activities. The café will add to the portfolio of the charitable services that can help us to reduce social isolation and loneliness.
  • In partnership with the YMCA, the new Healthy Habits initiative will start in the spring. This service will support individuals both young and older to develop a life-long approach to improving and maintaining their health and wellbeing. We are hoping that some of the intergenerational work from Healthy Habits will enable us to reach out to more people and give us more partners to work with in the future.

The last year has been a rollercoaster but we couldn’t have achieved our successes without the support of our dedicated team of trustees, volunteers and staff, plus our commissioners, funders and donors/givers – Thank you all.

I look forward to continuing to work with you all in 2020 and that we can build on our successes as we go journey forward.

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