My work with Age Concern Guernsey (ACG) began in 2016 and covers so many different and interesting aspects of business, life and human nature. It has given me a lot of pleasure and personal satisfaction over the years. I became involved by taking on the role of Chairman, as it was clear to me that the team was passionate about their service to our elderly community. Also, as I was approaching the qualifying age to join it was easy for me to fit in!
There is a concern that our society doesn’t value the experience and skills of the older generation. The World Health Organisation identifies a person as being old at the age of 50, and locally you become old at 65+ years when the state pension becomes available. However, as you would expect, there are many people who want to carry on working and enjoying life well beyond retirement age!
ACG was established in 1993 primarily as a social club for its members to meet on a regular basis, enjoy meals out and to retain contacts with friends. Naturally, our lives have changed over the last three decades and people’s circumstances are now very different.
We still meet with the original intention but we also aim to improve the quality of life for older people by encouraging them to be independent and by representing relevant interests and concerns in the wider community. The charity has grown as we are now using 4 centres every week, we operate a fleet of five minibuses, and have a membership of 235 with ages up to 100 years.
Together with our local partners, we deliver a range of services including:
- protecting the membership with programmes incorporating safeguarding, data management and scams awareness
- carrying out research and being involved in consultations to represent views and exchange ideas
- making information available and providing support and assistance where needed
- helping to tackle loneliness, getting older people to be active, and supporting them to stay independent for longer
- funding and operating the Winter Fuel Fund, which is particularly important for some members, and we’re also developing a home maintenance programme.
All of this makes a real difference in making life better for older people today and tomorrow.
ACG has a strong team with a wealth of experience and knowledge to address the many challenges we meet, together with the resourcefulness and resilience to find a way through them. The level of support needed by our members is increasing and the need is especially greater when people lose a partner. Our volunteers provide companionship, a friendly welcome and reassuring words. The time commitment can be quite significant and everything we do is based on dedication and passion for the cause. We have close connections with members and each other and that helps when there are pressures or difficult times.
As with many charity organisations the demands on resources are high and we are reliant on donations and fundraising, requiring a prudent approach to our operations. We have no capital assets aside from our vehicles and receive no funding from the States.
Lastly, in my role as Chairman, it would be remiss of me not to say that if you would like to assist the ACG in any way do please do get in touch.