Agenda item

Jayne Holliday- Age UK Barnsley (Sac.31.07.2020/6)


Jayne Holliday, Chief Executive Officer - Age UK Barnsley, was welcomed to the meeting. An update was provided about work undertaken during the first 10 months of the service, which included the work done post lockdown.


To March 2020 work was undertaken to promote the service through such as  GPs, chemists and supermarkets.  Up to lockdown the service worked with 54 individuals, with 14 of these matched with a Good Neighbour volunteer for befriending. Other users were supported to attend community activities and services, with excellent feedback from users reporting significant reductions in social isolation.


With the organisation being small and locally based, it was able to respond quickly to lockdown and make necessary changes.  Since lockdown 115 vulnerable older people had been supported to stay safe. Regular befriending calls were made, wellbeing parcels distributed. VE day tea packages were also support in lieu of a group afternoon tea.


Reports were extremely positive with some residents calling the service a lifesaver, as the service supported older and vulnerable residents to stay at home as per the guidance.


50 volunteers had been engaged to provide the service, with 24 offering support due to the Covid situation.  576 hours of support had been provided over the course of 10 months which equated to a monetary value of £7,793.


Members were made aware of the Information and Advice element of the service, which had been provided via telephone and email from March.  The accredited service had dealt with a myriad of different issues and had supported 56 older people in the area to claim £119,625 in benefits.


Up to March, 18 community events had been held in the area and, working with Barnsley U3A, staff had enabled the establishment of 9 new groups including Men in Sheds and the Parkside Group.  However, this had to be curtailed due to Covid-19.  As only 35% of the client group had access to the internet, the need to be imaginative was stressed.  Parcels were delivered with a number activities and menu of clubs people could join was circulated.  This included such as a pudding club, exercise club, creative writers and wildlife clubs.  Consideration had also been given to how the outcomes could be shared between clients.  These types of intervention had offered much welcomed opportunities for stimulation.


Members noted the support given in establishing the Community Responders scheme.   Also noted was the issue of Mental Health which had been identified across a wide age range.  In addition, issues around confidence, and around mobility and balance had also been identified.  Members were assured that these would be areas of focused support moving forward.


It was noted that, consideration was also being given to what support could be provided face to face in a safe environment in the future, however it was acknowledged that there was a reluctance for many venue operators to reopen at this current time.


Noted was the work to fund raise and apply for grant funding.  Those present discussed the Age UK shops around Barnsley and the difficulties being faced on the high street.  However, the added value the shops provided as a community venue for many residents was acknowledged.


Members praised the work of the team in such difficult conditions, and the impact this had on the lives of many residents was noted.


RESOLVED That thanks be given for the presentation and continued hard work of those involved in the delivery of the service.




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