Last week I wrote about a typical day of visits in and around Horsham and that included a meeting with Janice Leeming, the chief executive of Age UK Horsham District.
As I mentioned, it was an opportunity to discuss the charity’s national campaigns and to also learn more about what they get up to locally.
I was surprised at the range of services they provide to local people and I wanted to give readers more detail than I was able to provide last week.
We all know that we’re an ageing population but the fact that the number of older people in the Horsham District will increase by 60 per cent in the next 15 years is quite a statistic.
That change in demographic has implications for our healthcare providers but there are other considerations that are less easy to quantify.
The issues of loneliness and isolation, for example, are huge and are only set to increase: many people will have checked their mobile or tablet for messages whilst reading this column; others will be thinking about their Facebook or Twitter profiles; what’s in store for them at work or indeed, what they’re going to be doing this evening. Others may not speak to or communicate with another person for days, maybe even weeks.
Luckily Age UK Horsham District is here to help. Many of the services they provide are there to maintain people’s independence and improve their quality of life – like the ‘help at home’ service, which can assist with jobs like general cleaning, laundry and ironing.
There are also various day centres and a minibus shopping service. It’s all good stuff and makes a real difference.
Age UK Horsham District also offer advice on benefits and what people are entitled to claim. I don’t mind repeating a statistic I used last week: they have helped older people in the Horsham area receive £1m in unclaimed benefits. It’s a huge amount which will help many people maintain their independence and their quality of life.
Like all local and national charities, Age UK Horsham District needs to raise money to keep going – if any readers can help with this, I’m sure they’ll be only too delighted to hear from you.
Equally, if readers feel they could benefit from their services, they can be reached on 01403 260560 and www.ageukhorshamdistrict.org.uk.
They’re a great local organisation, making a huge difference to people’s lives and I wish them all the best for the future.