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What do YOU think Age UK Sheffield does?

11 November 2016

CEO Blog: What do YOU think Age UK Sheffield does?

 

It’s a question I often wonder. When I speak to many people, the assumption seems to be charity shops. (We don’t - the four shops in Sheffield are run by the national Age UK, not us).
 
The actual answer is that we help people aged 50 or over - some of whom live in appalling circumstances in 21st Century Sheffield - to live better lives.
 
The reality of our work can only be understood using a real-life case study. Before reading on, beware, this is tough to read. Please also note, the client’s name has been changed to maintain anonymity.
 
‘David’ was referred to us by a social worker following an alert raised by a district nurse. He is in his 70s and still lives in the house he used to live in with his parents. In recent years, his health has deteriorated, and he has developed conditions including diabetes and heart failure, and his house had got into a bad state of repair.
 
When he was referred to Age UK Sheffield, his toilet had been broken for two years and he had been using bags to dispose of his waste. Downstairs the house had severe condensation damp, especially in the kitchen where black mould covered the back wall. The house had no central heating or hot water as the immersion heater was broken.
 
David could not physically get upstairs where his only – broken - toilet was. Most of the windows in the house were rotten and leaking, and some had broken glass. The kitchen sink drain was damaged so waste water had to be emptied outside.
 
David had accumulated a fair amount of clutter in the room he was mainly living in which was considerably dirty and dusty. He was sitting and sleeping on a two-seater sofa.
 
After discussing David’s wishes with him, we supported him to have a new toilet installed in his porch outhouse, with a grab rail and raised toilet seat. We also did practical work decluttering the living room and arranging for volunteers from the University of Sheffield to clear his garden.
 
We supported David to apply for Attendance Allowance, Pension Credit and Council Tax support - which increased his income by around £110 per week with an additional £1,000 backdated - and applied to the Central Heating Fund, who agreed to install a full central heating system for free.
 
Age UK Sheffield has also worked with David to obtain quotes for building work, replacing the windows, decorating and re-wiring and applied for grants for support with the cost of kitchen flooring and a new cooker.
 
There is still a considerable amount of work to do and we are continuing to support David, but this hopefully gives an idea of the life-changing impact we have on the lives of older people in Sheffield.

David says that our support “brought me back on my feet and brought me to my senses. All of a sudden I realised I wasn’t on my own. You don’t believe it and then you find that there are people out there willing to help”.
 
There are many more people like David living in equally terrible conditions we want to reach - and we’re sure you can help us.

If you feel you may be able to support this vital work in the run-up to Christmas, through a donation or fundraising, please call Bluebell on (0114) 250 2850.

 

Steve Chu

Age UK Sheffield CEO