The priorities and needs during the Covid 19 pandemic for older people shifted to food supplies, prescription collection, access to health & social care services, safety, social interactions and being updated with Government guidelines.
The coronavirus meant that Age UK Westminster had to expand its activities to provide more personal social contact and delivery services to more vulnerable older people than ever before.
The majority of our services were held virtually.
With the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID 19), we had to work harder than ever to support older people, their families and carers in The City of Westminster.
Between March 2020 – April 2021, we handled 7866 client contacts through our enquiries line, and had over 10,000 unique users accessing our website and much more.
Face-to-face activities were moved online. Over 70 new online activities were introduced, such as Chair Yoga, Poetry reading, Quizzes, Dance classes, Live DJ song request etc, helping our clients to stay active and connected.
Information & Advice / Telephone Line
Our experienced I&A team offered advice and support to older people, carers, family members and concerned neighbours.
We advised on a range of urgent issues such as welfare benefits, rent arrears, charitable grants, food provision, health and social care needs and offered guidance to ensure older people remained safe and well in their home. We also signposted and referred clients to other local services.
Our volunteers called lonely older people 2-3 times a week ensuring they continued to have social connections.
Well-being Check and Chat
Older vulnerable people were checked on through our check and chat service.
Our activities team ran a wide range of virtual activities (mainly via Zoom) – Tea & Chat, Quiz Sessions, Cookery, Poetry Reading, Men’s group, Community Dance Programme, Virtual Tours, iTea Parties and Music with our very own DJ.
When safe to do so we arranged to walk in the park and trips to various venues.
We produced our own Chair Based Exercise and Yoga videos which are shared online – these sessions were designed to help older people remain fit and active in their home. These are still available on our site.
We offered the following food support services for vulnerable and isolated older people across Westminster.
- A Personal Grocery Shopping Service– For client’s unable to use online shopping due to technical or physical challenges, our volunteers went out and did the shopping for older people who could not go out.
- A Prepared Meal Service – For older people who could not cook due to disability or were not reliably able to provide themselves with enough nutritious and well-prepared food.
- Emergency Food/Essentials Parcels - From the start of the pandemic, we delivered 752 weekly or bi-weekly emergency food parcels to 159 clients. The parcel was well stocked with a variety of non-perishable food items, plus fresh eggs, bread, longlife milk and fresh fruit and vegetables.
These services afforded additional opportunities to provide some much-needed human connection and to check on wellbeing, which was essential during a very challenging time.
Our Food Services no longer operate however, if you do require any support or advice in relation to the above please do get in touch with our Information & Advice Team through the details at the bottom of the page.
Community Development & Outreach
We recruited a Community Development & Outreach Coordinator (CDOC) to build bridges and reach out to BAME communities including LGBT people. Their role involves encouraging BAME older people to participate and access Age UK Westminster’s activities and services and help them to make social connections and access local activities. The CDOC works with a team of volunteers to support her to make this happen.
We produce a fortnightly newsletter that goes out to our clients and local stakeholders by post and email.
We regularly post on social media.
Follow us on our social media pages:
Facebook - facebook.com/ageukwest
Twitter - twitter.com/ageukwest
Instagram - instagram.com/ageukwestminster
Our essential services are being supported by over 300 local volunteers. Without our dedicated volunteers, the level of services provided during the Covid-19 crisis would have been impossible.
Volunteers are always needed, if you can spare an hour or so, please do contact us.
For any of our services above please contact our information and advice line
Tel: 020 3 004 5610 between 10am – 2pm or