A CHARITY which helps elderly and vulnerable residents is to carry out wellbeing calls to offer support during the coronavirus pandemic.

Age UK Mid Mersey's staff and volunteers have been readying themselves for an unprecedented demand to help the area's older population and are calling for more volunteers to aid them in the effort.

Normal work, events, activities and classes have been suspended with the redeployment of staff to carry out "extensive wellbeing calls" to as many people Age UK can identifiy or who are passed to them.

These calls will:

  • Offer assurance, support, advice and resiliance to older people.
  • Establish the status of each household and grade it for continued support on a triage system of regualar wellbeing calls.
  • Identify those in higher need and help them where we can and those in the greatest need to flag these to essential service partners or emergency support in a controlled way.

Mark Lunney, CEO of Age UK Mid Mersey, said: "Our organisation, our staff and our amazing volunteers have been mobilising in readiness for meeting what will be an unprecedented demand to help our older population and communities we operate in.

"We cover St Helens, Halton, Knowsley and Warrington with some reach into the Liverpool city region areas. But we have limited and depleting resources.

"Our community expect us to support them and we are totally committed to reaching as many people as we can. We are focussing our time on the most in need. Over 70s and those most vulnerable, the disabled and infirm and those who have little or no help from family, friends and carers.

"We play a major role alongside our key partners in the health and social care system and we are working collaboratively and in partnership with both statutory and voluntary groups across our extensive area we cover. But this is a huge, colossal task.

"We have initially identified 7,000-plus known clients on our database but have experienced a massive surge of enquiries to our advice lines and anticipate this doubling in volume in the coming weeks ahead. More if the situation is prolonged.

"Our staff are working flat out and showing immense commitment and determination to help our beneficiaries."

Age UK will endeavour to give essential help in basic areas such as shopping; medication; befriending; reassurance, motivation and resilience and connecting residents to other networks of support

Anyone who needs their help can email enquries@aukmm.org.uk or call the local helpline on 0300 003 1992. People are asked to be patient as they are inundated and to leave a message and the team will call them back.

The national advice line is on 0800 169 65 65 and the Silverline national telephone befriending service can be contacted on 0800 470 80 90

Mr Lunney added: "Our main headquarters based at the Mansion House in St Helens is now being used as our central hub and all other service are closed. All key staff are working from home digitally. The site and our facilities will be made available to key partners where needed, by agreement with St Helens council teams.

"We are desperately worried about sustainability in these unprecedented times.

"We welcome support from volunteers who can possibly help us. Please register at the following link online and choose our service to get involved. See: haltonsthelensvca.org.uk/covid-19-and-volunteering-halton-and-st-helens

"Finally, if you can support our work financially we are asking for urgent donations to help us. Please donate at: ageuk.org.uk/midmersey/get-involved/donate/

"Age UK Mid Mersey locally, have always been at the heart of our ageing population. Campaigning for and supporting our older people. We are here now at one of our greatest times of real need. We are trusted and respected by thousands of older people and we will not let them down.

"This is our moment now to show the greatest resilience in keeping as many people safe in their homes at this difficult time. Our staff teams will do all they can, wherever we can to help. Please do all you can too. Look after yourself, your neighbours and show community kindness wherever you can".