This year’s bag was compiled with the pandemic in mind, providing a reusable face mask, hand sanitiser, an activity pack, magazine and other freebies, along with information and advice on the charity’s services, including befriending.
With Covid-19 guidance changing regularly and quickly, the charity has been unable to organise many of the social events that would normally mark Older People’s Day, but wanted to do something to offer practical help to vulnerable older people. Many may either be feeling isolated at home, or might be beginning to venture out more often, but could still be nervous about their level of risk.
The bags will be delivered across West Sussex, Brighton & Hove to older people’s doorsteps by teams from the charity’s centres, Help at Home and Home from Hospital services.
Age UK West Sussex Brighton & Hove wants to provide support to anyone over 50 who needs help at this difficult time. Those unable to get their hands on one of the cotton bags can access a virtual bag online, with resources and information to print out, signposting to additional support on loneliness, along with a voucher for a free hot drink at one of the Age UK WSBH centres (valid for a full year). People are also able to call the charity to request a pack through the post. The bags will be distributed thoughout October, November and December.
Helen Rice, Chief Executive of Age UK West Sussex said “A lot of older people are staying at home right now, so we wanted to bring something to their doorsteps. Many are still finding things incredibly tough, dealing with isolation, worries about the virus and the restrictions to their normal lives. We hope the bag will provide both practical items and a few goodies to put smiles on the faces of those we are visiting. Some older people might be feeling rather forgotten at the moment, but they’re not forgotten by us! We’re working tirelessly to let people know that we’re here for them, whatever they are facing.”
The charity created a loneliness focused Bag of Support last year and it was a huge success, so decided to replicate it with the pandemic in mind. Age UK WSBH hopes that taking a proactive approach and distributing bags among older people in the community will help them reach out and access the help available.
Freeman Brothers Funeral Directors, Nuthurst Parish Council, Amberley Parish Council and West Sussex County Council have kindly sponsored the bags, covering costs or providing donations to allow Age UK to reach more people in need.
Age UK WSBH quickly adapted in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. As well as information and advice, the charity offered doorstep deliveries, emergency welfare and safety support for the most vulnerable, telephone befriending and wellbeing advice.
Over 50s who need advice or support at this time are urged to contact Age UK WSBH on 01903 731 800 or email [email protected]