In the ninth of a series of articles looking at the work of Age UK Redbridge, Barking and Havering, Janet West summarises the impact of coronavirus on their services and explains what they can still offer
Due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, here at Age UK Redbridge, Barking and Havering we are busy adapting our services so we can continue supporting older people in the three boroughs we serve.
Whilst some services will continue as near to normal as possible for the time being, some will inevitably be more affected as we strive to follow the government’s advice to help keep people safe.
Unfortunately, this means that since 17 March, we have had to close the Allan Burgess Centre – our activity hub in Wanstead – to comply with the current guidelines, meaning we cannot provide lunch or activities for the foreseeable future.
The activities carried out at the Cherry Tree Cafe (Zumba and art classes) will also cease as the centre has to close its doors as well. We will be offering telephone communication to service users affected if they would like it, so we can at least give them someone to talk to and offer advice if they need it.
The situation is changing all the time, so we will be updating our website as the weeks progress, or people can phone the office for more information.
Here at our offices in Ilford, we will still be running a limited advice and information service, and our telephone befriending service, with some changes to how these are delivered as more staff and volunteers need to work from home.
Social activities make up a lot of our services, allowing people to socialise together in groups. With current advice, we can sadly no longer organise these gatherings until further notice.
On the bright side, we are receiving many kind offers from the public who want to help and we are looking at ways we can use this extra resource whilst being mindful of our duty to safeguard older people.
In the meantime, we would like to encourage older people to ask for help if they need it, firstly turning to their families, friends or neighbours, but if they don’t have any support networks, then do contact us and we will try to help where we can.
Please be aware, during this difficult time, there will be delays in answering calls.
Age UK has a fact sheet on the coronavirus. Visit wnstd.com/ageuk-virus