Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove (WSBH) has won ten new contracts to provide social support services for older people across West Sussex from 1st July. The five year contracts, awarded by West Sussex County Council, will enable the charity and key community partners to expand services in the wake of the pandemic. Age UK WSBH will be seeking views and ideas from its existing clients over the coming months as it re-doubles efforts to tackle issues such as frailty, dementia and loneliness.
Together with partners Age UK East Grinstead, Carers Support, Community Transport Sussex, Guild Care (which also secured the social support contract in Worthing), Royal Voluntary Service and West Sussex Mind, the charity hopes to reach more people, work from more venues in the community and offer a wider range of services and activities for the over 50s. In addition, the new contracts cover support for carers, as well as helping people home from hospital and supporting them in the first few weeks of being home.
Age UK WSBH was needed more than ever during the pandemic and for many the repercussions of Covid-19 are only now beginning to be felt. Some people are finding that their health conditions have worsened, some have become more isolated or frail and others are trying to cope with bereavement. With a number of people still anxious about socialising following the pandemic, Age UK WSBH is returning safely and according to demand, gradually re-opening centres and restarting activities in line with Government guidance.
Helen Rice, Chief Executive at Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove said “This is a key time for us and we’re delighted to be the trusted choice to provide these vital services locally. While restrictions might be lifting, the impact of Covid is still being felt and we’re determined to be there for those who need us. Our partnership with the Council means we can reach more people than ever, both at home and in the community. We want to be guided by older people in terms of the services they need and want. Everything from social events at the pub to one to one care and support for the most vulnerable. We’ve got an incredible team of staff and volunteers, so if we can also work with those we’re here for, I’m really ambitious about what we can achieve.”
Amanda Jupp, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “We look forward to working closely with Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove and partner organisations as part of our commitment to help and support vulnerable people continue to live independently.
“We are hoping to reach more people across West Sussex than ever, in order to provide a service that meets the needs identified by older residents themselves.”
Age UK WSBH will work with its partners to help people stay healthy, remain independent, be informed and get connected. The charity is considering offering more social spaces where people can meet and eat as well as things like bereavement support groups, new exercise classes, social groups and activities to bring generations together. Plans will be shaped by older people themselves. Local older people networks for professionals have already been set up and a steering group will be created to help ensure West Sussex is a great place for older people to live and thrive in later life.
The expansion of services will mean there will be a range of fantastic job opportunities and volunteering roles becoming available. The charity will be running a recruitment campaign and details will be available on the Age UK WSBH website.