There With You: Age UK support during coronavirus lockdown ‘amazing’ say vulnerable Islington service users

Age UK Islington has launched a wellbeing calls service during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: PA

Age UK Islington has launched a wellbeing calls service during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Older people being supported by an Islington charity during the coronavirus lockdown have shared their stories and thanked the heroic volunteers for their work.

Betty, from Holloway.

Betty, from Holloway. - Credit: Archant

Age UK is operating a helpline and making regular wellbeing checks with its community to make sure the most vulnerable people it helps have enough food, income and essential support.

One of those people is Susan, 53, of Finsbury Park, who has various illnesses and is self-isolating.

She said: “I have four different illnesses supported by three hospitals, and I am not able to go out.

“As a result of a call from Age UK, I registered on the government website to get direct support with essential food supplies, and was later able to get a priority pass for Asda.

Wallis Hamilton Felton.

Wallis Hamilton Felton. - Credit: Archant

“I’m very grateful for Age UK reaching out to me. I don’t feel deprived because of the lockdown. Despite the pain I’m in, I keep to a timetable, keep a gratitude diary and keep in touch with a volunteer support group on social media.

“The support group has inspired me with their positivity, and has encouraged me to express my creativity. I paint, sing, write songs and have learnt how to knit watching Youtube, and have started knitting scarves for friends.”

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Betty, 67, lives in Holloway and has health complications, so is also self-isolating.

She said: “I’ve a volunteer who is able to get my shopping for me. Age UK Islington have been amazing and I am very appreciative of them helping me to get a new fridge during this time, when mine broke and I couldn’t replace it.”

Actress and playwright Wallis Hamilton Felton was furloughed in early due to Covid-19 and volunteered to do the wellbeing check-ins.

She said: “Now more than ever our older generation needs support. I feel that making wellbeing phone checks is such a great way for me to help.

“Some of the people I’ve spoken to haven’t left their house in weeks and to know someone is looking out for them can make all the difference. I’m so grateful to Age UK Islington and the support they provide to many. Being a part of it brings me hope in these rather chaotic times.”

Andy Murphy, CEO of Age UK Islington, said: “Through these checks we’ve uncovered residents in need of support, who we’ve been able to help, often in connection with partner organisations. But we’ve also discovered some remarkable examples of resilience by local residents.”

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