Help required at crucial Suffolk charity

AGE Concern Suffolk is today appealing for volunteers.

AGE Concern Suffolk is today appealing for volunteers.

The charity - which provides a range of services, care and support for older people in our community - is seeking people to help in a number of roles.

Volunteer manager, Gail Bushell said there is no upper age limit for volunteering for the charity.

She added: "Older people in Suffolk have a lot to offer our local community, not least a wealth of skills and experiences.

"Developing and using these skills can be of great benefit for other older people in our community who get support from voluntary organisations."

Mrs Bushell said volunteers were needed for the charity's Food 'n' Friends services, fundraising, befrienders and telephone befrienders, day care centres in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds and administration support at the charity's head office in Claydon.

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She added: "Our Local Links volunteers in communities are vital to pass information on to people who may need Age Concern's services.

"In the day care centres volunteers might be doing shopping for clients, taking part in activities or simply spending time in conversation with those who come along - it's all about giving frailer older people a good day out.

"We have about 450 employees and 630 volunteers. It is only through our volunteering support that we can run a number of services.

"For instance, our befriending service offers crucial support to lonely older people and we really need to expand it."

Gill Hood, Age Concern Suffolk volunteer coordinator, said: "Volunteering is very rewarding. We provide invaluable support to some of the most isolated and vulnerable people in our community."

Daphne Savage, chief executive of Age Concern Suffolk, said: "One of the great challenges that we all face in the 21st century is adapting to an ageing society.

"Life expectancy is increasing rapidly. By 2020, nearly 50 per cent of the population will be over 50. Longer active lives means that in the UK as a whole the 60-79 age group will add �59 billion of value a year through tax payments, volunteer work and support to their families.

"If we get this right and encourage people to be involved and continue to enjoy a full life through volunteering, there is a massive potential for a better local community in Suffolk."

For further information about volunteering contact Gail Bushell or Gill Hood on 01473 288047 or email

Have you been helped by Age Concern Suffolk? What do you think of the charity? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to

Age Concern Suffolk has recently said good-bye with a surprise presentation to a long serving, respected and trusted volunteer in Felixstowe.

He is Les Smith who has worked at Age Concern`s Help Desk in Felixstowe since November 2003.

Les is noted for his happy go lucky nature and great sense of humour he will be missed by all the staff and volunteers at the Age Concern shop and Help Desk where he worked.

Helen Taylor, information manager at Age Concern Suffolk; said "Les is noted for his happy go lucky nature and great sense of humour he will be missed by all the staff and volunteers at the Age Concern shop and Help Desk where he worked.

"He has been a pleasure to work with and I know he has been a great source of reassurance to our callers at the Felixstowe Help Desk, when they have come in to discuss their problems.

"Although we are very sorry to have to say goodbye to Les, the Help Desk will be continuing - as we have found another friendly volunteer who will be there".

Age Concern Suffolk Help Desk offers information and support to people needing advice on a whole range of matters related to retirement and growing older and is staffed by friendly approachable assistants and volunteers.

Age Concern Suffolk is an independent charity that works with and for older people and their carers in the county, offering a range of information, care and support, including: help centres, advice and help on getting financial benefits, independence advisors, befriending, support for people with dementia and their carers, day care centres, home from hospital support, and home helps.