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Saturday, 26 September 2020


2,800 miles across Europe – Age UK’s International Mercy Mission

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A recent call from 2800 miles away led to another mercy mission for Age UK North, South & West Dorset (NSWD). This time to organise urgent supplies for an isolated grandmother in Dorset.

Pauline, who lives in Paphos in Cyprus, found Age UK NSWD via an internet search when she needed to provide urgent local help for her 87-year-old grandmother Betty.

Betty, who lives in rural Dorset, has no other family close by and was fast running out of food. Her granddaughter Pauline had previously been able to order basics from Amazon – but was worried about finding a long-term solution as the COVID-19 lockdown continues.

Following Age UK’s rapid response, a local volunteer was able to deliver essential shopping to Betty’s house last week and left a telephone number for her to call whenever she needed more help or supplies.

Volunteer Melanie Coward said:

“I dropped the shopping off to Betty about 5.30pm having rung her first to tell her the cost. She was very grateful and had the money ready in a sealed envelope and passed it to me using one of those grabber stick things to avoid contact.

“I’ve told her she can ring whenever she needs more shopping and I’m happy to help.”

Betty’s Granddaughter Pauline said:

“I love my grandmother so much. My mother, Betty’s daughter, died just over a year ago and I have been in Cyprus for a while.

“I really appreciate everything Age UK NSWD have done. She has other family, but she’s not close to them as the nearest is in London or Oxford.

“I talk to her all the time and we have a good bond. She doesn’t like to ask for help, but I’m a bit headstrong and try to look after her as much as I can.

“Thank you to each and every one of you.”

Age UK NSWD is focused on working in partnership with Dorset County Council and other organisations to provide a community response to COVID-19 across the area.

The Charity is operating a call handling, assessment and deployment service to answer calls from people who are self-isolating and need help. Those calls for help are then matched with the right agency or voluntary group to respond.

Age UK NSWD CEO, Dave Thorp, said:

“Providing help for Betty and hundreds of like her is exactly what we do here in Dorset. Ever since the lockdown began, our Charity has been assisting and supporting lonely and often hungry people in our communities who are suffering in isolation at this worrying time.

“A special mention must be made to the Volunteer Centre Dorset along with all the volunteers and good neighbours who are supporting us and helping so many people at this time.

“If you are, or you know a person who has no support nearby and who needs help, please call us and talk to one of our great staff or volunteers.

“While this crisis continues, we are open for calls from 9:00am to 5:00pm 7 days a week on 01305 269444. We can also be contacted via email on enquiries@ageuknswd.org.uk.”

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