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2022/23 Annual Review

A message from our CEO

Anne Hastings.pngThe last two years have taught us that as an organisation we are resilient and adaptable and can rise to a challenge. We have adapted new ways of working and connecting with people and we have witnessed the joy that most people have shown in being out and about and spending time with others. That is not to say that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has not cast a long shadow for many, whose mental and physical health and wellbeing has been negatively impacted, and who will need more support to feel strong, confident and independent again. The difficult and challenging times have however emphasised what we have always known, that our staff and volunteer teams are amazing and give so much in effort and dedication to the residents of Solihull.

The cost of living crisis has had a big impact on thousands of older people in Solihull; even those who thought that they were reasonably financially secure found the massive hikes in fuel costs very worrying, with some sadly deciding that risking turning off the heating was preferable to not being able to pay the costs of keeping it on. Following on from the pandemic it was a year where, more than ever, it was vital that Age UK Solihull remained a strong and effective charity to meet the ever-growing needs. Our services continued to evidence high levels of impact and public benefit for everyone in Solihull as we strive to meet our goal of making Solihull a great place to grow old.

Forty years on and still working hard to make Solihull a great place to grow old! Looking back over the years, it is interesting to remember that Age Concern had its origins during the Second World War, which made life more difficult for older people in many ways, but also revealed their existing problems. It would be fair to say that the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis have done pretty much the same thing – exposed the vulnerabilities of older people to loneliness and social isolation together with the heightened health risks posed by being cold or not having enough nutritious food to stay healthy and well.

We recognise that Solihull shares many characteristics with England as a whole, but it also has a range of unique challenges. A larger proportion of the Solihull population is aged 65 and over compared to England and this group is projected to be the fastest growing population cohort over the next 20 years, in particular those aged 85 and over (+3,500 by 2041). This has implications for many services, particularly rising demand for health and social care, and will undoubtedly have implications for the range of services that we offer or might wish to offer in the future. Going forward, we need to ensure that we reach out even further to older people, their carers’ and their families, to support them with the impartial, personalised, and expert information and advice they need. We are in the privileged position of being able to speak to older people day in day out, so we’re constantly learning more about the challenges older people face, and constantly looking to provide appropriate services or solutions to those challenges.

As we celebrate our Ruby anniversary from March 2023, we will remain grateful for all the help and support we get and look forward to the next 40 years with hope and enthusiasm that we will be here when we are needed.

Anne F Hastings
Chief Executive Officer

2022-23 Annual Review

Read our latest Annual Review to find out what we have achieved over the past year.