Community coronavirus Local News

Charity in crisis over COVID-19

Age Concern Hampshire (ACH) are struggling to fund their services in light of the latest guildelines from the NVCO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) which means they find themselves ineligibile for funding.

The additional £370m funding offered by the government is being issued to ‘small and medium’ sized charities through the National Lottery Community Fund, including those delivring food, essential; medicins and providing financial advice.

Last week Chancellor Rishi Sunak annouced the majority of this fund will be going to organisations with incomes under £1m. Most grants will be in the region of £100,000.

Age Concern Hampshire Finds itself over this threshold with the £1m being set as a distinguiser between ‘wealthy’ and ‘poor’ charities. As their current turnover is over £1m, they are ineligibile to recieve any funding from the government, yet funding had decreased by 70% in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Which means by July 2020 their income will be under the £1m threshold.

Because of this loss of funding ACH is struggling to provide its usual level of service and to keep going

Before the lockdown rules were implemented ACH was delivering Health and Wellbeing services from 11 Day Care Centres as well as additional outreach services to over 500 older persons across the county, the majority of whom are suffering with physical frailty and dementia. As of the 23rd March all Centres closed and activities stopped in response to the restrictions around social isolation.

Very quickly ACH developed outreach services to support their socially isolated clients, ensuring that they did not feel secluded during this difficult time and they have continued to work tirelessly to connect older residents with vital services whilst tackling issues caused as a consequence of isolation.

Even though the pandemic has meant a complete change in the ACH business model resulting in a 70% reduction in their income they have developed emergency response services to support older people to stay safe at home in isolation and ensure they are not secluded or without provisions.

They implemented new services as of the 23rd March and since then they have delivered.

  • Doorstep Services – Prescription collection and delivery
    – Shopping
  • Daily wellbeing calls for clients and careres
  • Sitting Services – befriending and non-personal care in the home, allowing carers short breaks and providing companionship for the Elderly
  • Over 3,000 Wellbeing Support Calls to clients and older people across the county – totalling over 14,000 minutes of virtual telephone support
  • Dealing with over 700 Information and Advice coronavirus-related calls & emails
  • Undertaken 250 shopping trips, prescription and food box deliveries

In addition, their Hospital to Home schemes give vital support on the frontline to discharge elderly patients from hospital safely and effectively. Their teams are working hard, alongside the NHS, in our local community hospitals to make the rehabilitation process for elderly patients as positive as possible. As rehab wards have changed to Coronavirus medical wards, the ACH staff have continued to deliver and their staff are now working in ‘patient liaison’ roles, ensuring regular communication happens between patients and loved ones who are unable to visit. This is making a tangible difference to patients, loved ones and takes pressure off ward staff.

“Our ability to fundraise has virtually stopped and without support from somewhere we may not survive this pandemic which I see as a real risk to the extremely vulnerable older people of Hampshire.”

Helen Callen (CEO, ACH)

You can donate to Age Concern Hampshire here

About the author

Kevin Ridgeon

Kevin Ridgeon

IT/Web support, Digital Guru, Reporter and photographer for Love Andover

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