Age Concern Eastbourne: Covid and cost of living crisis has been a 'double whammy'

A charity for over 50s in Eastbourne says things 'couldn't be worse' due to Covid and the cost of living crisis.

Age Concern Centre manager Liz Maxted said 700-800 people were using the service every week but this has dropped to 450-500 since Covid.

She said: “We've worked hard to make this an inviting environment for people. However, a lot of people aren't coming out at the moment as Covid numbers rise again.”

The cost of living crisis has caused people to choose between using Age Concern services or paying their bills.

Age Concern at the Patricia Venton Centre (Pic by Jon Rigby)

Liz said: “Our prices haven't gone up but people are thinking about what to spend their money on more, which means they're choosing not to come. Lots of people are worried.”

Ed Archibald is a welfare rights officer. He said: “That generation just solider on and don't ask for help and that's where we come in.

“I see their jaws drop because they see there's lots of help they could have had for years. I've never come across such a grateful bunch of clients in my job.”

Angie Creasey takes care of nail care. She said: “It's more than just having your feet done, it's big social thing for lots of people.” She added: “I think once winter hits people are going to be worrying more about costs going up.”

Age Concern at the Patricia Venton Centre (Pic by Jon Rigby)

Hazel Jelly arranges transport to the day club and weekend trips.

She said: “The cost of fuel is causing issues. It's doubled to fill up the minibus – it's horrendous.”

She said she may have to cancel weekend trips because of rising fuel costs. She added: “Age Concern is extremely important because people we deal with wouldn't leave home otherwise.

“It couldn't be worse – it's a double whammy to have faced Covid and now the cost of living crisis too.”

Gerry Richmond, Roger Gordon, Marilyn Webb and Jennifer Layzell use the cafe most days.

Gerry said: “We look out for each other and it gives us a reason to get up in the morning.”

Marilyn said: “We all live alone, so it's good to see each other here. It's a place you come and you feel safe.”

Liz Wicks-Stephens, who runs the cafe, said: “It's a lovely friendly place and the only hot meal a day for a lot of people.”

More on the cost of living in Eastbourne: