THE DROITWICH branch of Age UK has appealed to Spa residents to help fund the vital services it offers and safeguard their long-term future.
The call came as the charity revealed it has dealt with more than 1,400 enquiries through its information and advice service in the last year.
That number of requests, between April 2014 and March 2015, was unprecedented and saw an increase of more than 50 per cent on the same time the previous year.
If that pattern continues, as the charity expects, the service will cost almost £17,000-a-year to run and the funding Age UK Droitwich has will not cover the cost.
Services manager Trudy Parvitt said: “There are several services people would like to see more often but we cannot meet the demand with the funding we get.
“We used to do more home visits and people do want that, but we have had to cut back.”
She added it was a struggle for some elderly residents to get to Age UK’s offices.
Mags Powell, the branch’s information and advice officer, said she felt much of the rise was the move towards online access for services and advice such as applying for a bus pass or Pension Credit.
The information and advice service provides comprehensive information, help and practical support for local older people, their carers and families.
It offers one-to-one appointments, home visits and information on the phone and online.
Ms Powell added: “The service is an essential resource for older people in Droitwich Spa, assisting with a broad range of issues from finding a reliable plumber to making an application for Attendance Allowance or an online application for a Blue Badge.”
She said older people were supported to remain independent in a friendly approachable environment, helping them to avoid financial hardship and enabling them to maximise their enjoyment of later life.
Chief officer Jan Phillips said these were challenging times as the information and advice service was provided free of charge but the cost of running it increased year on year – last year, the service helped older residents apply for £345,000 worth of benefits and the cost of each case was £12.
“As a small independent local charity we have to raise all our own income and welcome donations from anyone that would like to support us in continuing to provide this vital local service,” she said.
For more information about how to donate, visit www.ageukds.org.uk, drop into the office (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 9am to 1pm), or call 01905 772126.