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Age UK Suffolk to close – 143 to lose their jobs

PUBLISHED: 15:34 16 July 2020 | UPDATED: 21:58 16 July 2020

Local charity Age UK Suffolk is to cease operating as a result of the coronavirus pandemic  Picture: AGE UK SUFFOLK

Local charity Age UK Suffolk is to cease operating as a result of the coronavirus pandemic Picture: AGE UK SUFFOLK

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Age UK Suffolk is to cease operations from the end of next week after the charity was hit by ‘significant’ financial losses as a result of coronavirus.

Age UK Suffolk held 'chinwags' to help older people stay connected - all its services will now be lost. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAge UK Suffolk held 'chinwags' to help older people stay connected - all its services will now be lost. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The charity will no longer operate from Friday, July 24, its board confirmed in a statement.

Its closure comes after it faced a number of financial challenges in recent years, with the impact of coronavirus on fundraising – which has affected charities across the county – ultimately proving the final straw.

MORE: Stark warning more charities may collapse due to coronavirus

The charity, based in Claydon, employs 143 people and has 236 volunteers. All will lose their jobs as a result of its closure.

Age UK Suffolk helped thousands of people in 2018/19, a figure that is expected to soar as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: GETTY IMAGESAge UK Suffolk helped thousands of people in 2018/19, a figure that is expected to soar as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

In 2018/19, it provided services and support to 8,340 older people across the county and played a major role in trying to improve the lives of the predicted 17,000 people in Suffolk suffering from loneliness. The number is predicted to rise as a result of the pandemic.

Among the support it provided was its befriending service, which received a 40% increase in calls during the early stages of lockdown.

It also provided support for people living with dementia and their carers at its Chilton Club in Sudbury.

In winter, it teams up with Suffolk Community Foundation and this newspaper – among other organisations – to provide life-saving support through the Surviving Winter Appeal.

Age UK Suffolk held 'chinwags' to help older people stay connected - all its services will now be lost. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAge UK Suffolk held 'chinwags' to help older people stay connected - all its services will now be lost. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

In March, the charity launched its ‘Good Day Calls’ appeal in the hopes of raising £33,000 a month to cover the predicted losses due to coronavirus, while it announced at the end of June that a number of its stores were also facing closure.

In a statement, the board said the charity has explored “every possible option” to protect its charitable work, and had recently suspended home services while holding a full review on all services it provides.

Anthony Sheppard, chairman of trustees said: “We would like to thank all of our staff and volunteers for their hard work, dedication and commitment to our work, and to the local community for their support.

“These are unprecedented times and we will be working as hard as we can to ensure that older people know where they can turn to for support.”

Age UK Suffolk played a leading role in the Surviving Winter campaign.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAge UK Suffolk played a leading role in the Surviving Winter campaign. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Those who need or receive help from the charity, and their families, are asked to contact national Age UK on 0800 169 6565 for advice on alternative services.

MORE: The vital work of the Surviving Winter campaign


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