Age Concern at 40: Proving Age is just a number

Age Concern Central Lancashire, the county’s multi-award-winning older people’s charity, has unveiled ambitious plans for the future as it celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2021.

The anniversary is a significant and extremely positive milestone, and while for some hitting their 40s can start a mid-life crisis, the charity is welcoming its ruby anniversary with open arms.

As part of its plans, the organisation is recruiting ‘Age is Just a Number’ ambassadors who epitomise “positivity and vitality” and prove that a positive mindset about ageing is something we should all aspire to adopt.

Those recruited will be shining examples from across all sectors and backgrounds and will hopefully provide inspiration and motivation to many people as they start to assess their own future and how they would like to grow older.

The charity also has a packed schedule of events planned and has set an ambitious fundraising target of £40,000 to help support its charitable endeavours.

 

The thread of healthy and positive ageing runs throughout the entire charity including services that support people with memory concerns and dementia and who face life-changing situations and in those regards the tasks ahead are substantial.

Estimates suggest that 15,500 people are living with dementia in Lancashire, a figure set to increase to 21,472 by 2025.

Added to that, 35,000 people aged 65 and over are chronically lonely and isolated, a scenario as bad for their health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Age Concern Central Lancashire believes that nobody should face these challenges alone, that ageing is everyone’s business and above all else, while there are obstacles ahead, there is also great opportunity if people are supported to live and age well and are not forgotten by society as they grow older.

‘Everything old is precious, furniture, friends, books, wine – remember the most precious thing of all “our old folks”. Joan Roscow statement May, 1983 (CEO 1981 – 1997)

The charity is also reaching out to Lancashire businesses to join their ‘Patron’s Community’, launched in February 2020 with the support of leading academics from Lancaster University.

The Patron’s Community provides the perfect opportunity for businesses to work with Age Concern Central Lancashire to discuss how they can adopt ethical and moral approaches to become a force for good, while achieving positive dividends for shareholders and beneficiaries.

Iain Pearson, executive director of business development, says: “Its about connecting business and positive social impact to achieve regenerative growth across the county.

“We want to work with purposeful businesses, innovators and philanthropic minds who recognise it’s not just about growth but the nature of growth which truly matters.

“It’s about healthy growth that enriches communities, economies the environment and ultimately humanity.”

He adds: “This is not simply about the charity hand-out. Age Concern Central Lancashire has worked hard to create an offer for businesses that will create good dividends as a return for their investment.

“The Patron’s Community is designed to facilitate just that, good dividends for our partners - boosting staff recruitment and retention through to enhancing brand and customer loyalty and good business for society – helping to support the county’s increasingly older population. It’s definitely a two-way street.”

Since launching the Patron’s Community brands such as Electricity North West, Preston’s College, Stone Create, United Utilities, Code Galaxy, Cadent and The Sundown Group have joined the “ethical revolution”.

The charity, led by chair of trustees Norman Tenray, chief executive, of the OBAS Group, has grown from humble beginnings in 1981 and has gone from strength to strength.

Turnover in that first financial year was £6,500. In 2019/20 that had grown to £2.9m. The charity also employs 79 staff members and benefits from the support of 385 volunteers who annually contribute the equivalent of £393,000 to the charity in volunteer hours.

There are more standout statistics. Over 40 years the charity estimates it has:

  • Spent £42,400,000 on charitable activity in Lancashire supporting older people to live well and age well
  • Supported more than a million people
  • Received support from more than 11,000 volunteers, contributing over 1.2 million volunteer hours to the charity, equating to over £10.6m
  • Secured more than £10m in benefits for older people that will have been spent within the local economy

The charity delivers more than 138,000 direct interventions within Lancashire each year through its Dementia, Live Well and Retail services.

It has also stood side by side with the community throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, supporting many of the county’s most vulnerable people.

Help was given in the form of more than 11,000 welfare calls, 4,200 befriending hours and the provision of more than 9.8 tonnes of food and essential supplies with a retail value of more than £60,000.

In doing so, Age Concern Central Lancashire received significant aid from businesses across the county and the North West donating food, supplies and expertise that helped to improve the lives of many older people.

All in all, the charity helped nearly 2,000 people in Lancashire during the first phase of lockdown alone.

In recognition of its efforts during the pandemic, Age Concern Central Lancashire was awarded the BIBAs Business Hero Award, was Highly Commended by the High Sheriff of Lancashire and won the ‘Most Creative use of Lockdown’ award at the Charity Retail Awards 2020.

And in the days before lockdown, Age Concern Central Lancashire also received the special Lancashire Business View Award at the 2020 Red Rose Awards.

While the organisation has remained a charity at heart, it has continuously evolved and routinely adopts commercial approaches to increase its reach and impact.

In doing do, it has forged relationships with partners such as Lancaster University to aid heath innovations and Boost Business Lancashire and Two Zero to support its strategic approaches to growth.

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