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Local Age UK relaunches lifeline appeal ahead of another bleak winter for many older people

Published on 31 October 2023 11:33 AM

Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove (WSBH) has relaunched its winter Lifeline Appeal this month, calling on local schools and businesses to support some of the most vulnerable older people locally this winter. The charity is asking for support, so it can be there for more people who are struggling during the cost of living crisis, or who are isolated and lonely, with no one to turn to.

Age UK WSBH is asking schools to consider holding a non-uniform day or other fundraising initiative, so some of the youngest in the community can do their bit to support some of the oldest. Local shops and businesses are also being approached, in case they are able to donate profits from a particular item to the winter appeal, or select Age UK WSBH as their chosen charity partner.

Money raised will go towards the charity’s local information and advice helpline, a first port of call for older people who are worried about issues like their finances, housing or loneliness and isolation. As little as £20 will help man the phones, supporting callers with their worries, concerns or queries. Donating £100 can pay for an advisor to complete a lengthy benefits assessment for an older person, potentially unlocking extra income for them going forward.

Liz Ansell, Helpline Manager at Age UK WSBH said “We’re already getting calls from people in their 80s and 90s who are worried about how they will cope this winter. With soaring prices lately, their pensions aren’t enough to cover the basics and they’re worried about being cold and hungry when the temperatures drop.

We know we can often make a huge difference in this situation, helping people claim benefits that they didn’t know they were entitled to and putting more money in their pockets when it’s needed the most. As a local charity, independent of the national Age UK, we do need support from the community to reach as many people as possible. We hope schools, businesses and individuals will support our Lifeline Appeal so we can be there for the most vulnerable this winter.”

The Information and Advice team provides great value for money. For every £1 spent on the team, the charity is able to access approximately £18 in benefits/grants for older people. Last year, specialist benefits advisors identified over £3 million in extra income for older people in West Sussex, Brighton & Hove. Many had no idea they were entitled to anything.

One of our helpline callers: Edith* – a woman in her mid-70s got in touch with us when her modest savings had been stolen, she had no food and no means of buying any as her bank cards had been cancelled. Even before the theft, she didn’t have a working cooker and often just ate sandwiches or missed meals. Her fridge freezer also broke down regularly. Our team referred her for one-to-one crisis support, reviewed her finances to check she was getting everything she was entitled to, plus helped to put in place a package of care which included social worker support, a new cooker and a grant for a new fridge freezer. She was extremely grateful for our help and said she felt much brighter after such a difficult time. * Anonymous case study, not her real name

Advisers on the helpline can provide up-to-date information and advice on a whole range of topics, not just financial matters. Housing needs, finding help at home, health and social care, family and personal matters, leisure and social activities, plus advice for carers is all covered. Older people who need support can contact the helpline by calling 0800 019 1310 (lines are open 9am – 2pm, Monday to Friday).

Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove is a local brand partner of Age UK, but is an independent charity, raising its own funds which are all spent locally. Age UK WSBH is relying on donations to help as many people as possible right now.

Donations to the Age UK WSBH Lifeline Appeal can be made by telephone on 0800 019 1310 or by visiting