Age UK Northamptonshire is set to keep their shopping and hot meals delivery servicesdue to increasing demand across Northamptonshire. Originally set up as temporary, emergency services in response to lockdown, the charity has decided to keep both services as permanent offerings for older people across Northamptonshire

The charity closed the doors to its day centres following the government’s introduction of lockdown in March. Clients who had been attending the day centres and benefitting from social contact, hot meals, haircuts and baths, were no longer able to access that support. Older people in general, especially those with health conditions, were advised to self-isolate which meant getting access to essential grocery shopping, medication and hot meals became extremely difficult for many 

In response to this, the charity quickly set up emergency deliveries, so far providing 2754 meals, 1627 loads of shopping, collected 201 prescriptions and provided transport 14 times to appointmentsFeedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and clients are grateful that Age UK Northamptonshire have been able to provide a much-needed lifeline. Given the growth in demand and the likelihood that even after lockdown is lifted, older people will need to remain cautious, the charity has implemented ways to make the services sustainable. 

Older people are now able to order a two-course, freshly prepared meal which is delivered to their door at a charge of £6 per meal and a shopping delivery is charged at £5The emergency services had been delivered for free, but at a time when the charity’s income has dropped significantly due to the suspension of some paid-for services and charity shop temporary closures, small changes needed to be implemented to help cover the cost of delivery and sustain the support in the long-term. 

The charges mean that clients can continue to choose how many meals they would like to order each week and can receive a daily delivery from Monday to Friday. Older people across Northamptonshire simply call 01604 604500 and speak to a friendly member of staff who is experienced in talking to older people who might have hearing difficulties or memory problems. The grocery and meal orders are placed with an Age UK Northants member of staff who also takes payment securely over the telephone. 

The charity can answer enquiries from relatives who live in other parts of the country, set up the service and make payments. The services mean that isolated and often vulnerable older people are guaranteed a visit by a caring person who will have a chat and check they are ok.  

Chris Duff, Age UK Northamptonshire’s Chief Executive, said “We were well-placed to offer these emergency services to our clients and are pleased to be able to offer the support on an on-going basis. Responding to the needs of older people in the county is at the heart of what we do, so adapting our services in order to make the biggest difference, is absolutely necessary.

Fern Overton, Day Care & Transport Service Manager, said “Our staff and volunteers have worked incredibly hard over the last 12 weeks to make sure that existing clients and new referrals have the support they need. Clients look forward to the visit and social interaction as much as they look forward to the meals or groceries. Many people benefitting from deliveries are our day centre clients who really miss coming to the day centre, so it’s good for their wellbeing to be visited by a familiar face, someone they know and trust.

To find out more information about Age UK Northamptonshire’s services, visit www.ageuk.org.uk/northamptonshire or call 01604 611200

Age UK Northamptonshire’s COVID-19 appeal is still open to any individual, club or business who would like to donate during this difficult time: justgiving.com/campaign/coronavirusappealAgeUKNorthamptonshire