Sunday, 21 April 2024
Sunday, 21 April 2024

Pensions Minister visits Age UK H&W to address challenges for older citizens

AGE UK Herefordshire & Worcestershire (H&W), welcomed The Minister for Pensions, Paul Maynard MP, who met with staff managing the Information & Advice service, volunteers and members of the computer café at their Head Office at Malvern Gate, Worcester.

The Minister for Pensions sat down with CEO, Julia Neal and staff members Sonya Murray and Sarah Turner, to understand more about the challenges facing older people across the two counties and how the charity is working to support them.

The team told the Minister, about how difficult some older people find going online and completing often lengthy application forms and how much support some people need to do this.

The Minister for Pensions gave Age UK H&W representatives insight into how he and his team are tackling these challenges in a very practical way, before asking what changes the team would like to see.

The next stop was a visit to one of Age UK H&W’s popular Computer Cafés. Social Inclusion and Wellbeing Manager, Caroline Savage, introduced the Minister to the volunteers who run the Café and its members who were able to explain how the sessions have helped them to develop their digital skills, giving them greater confidence to use online services.

CEO Julia Neal explained:

“The Age UK H&W Information & Advice Service helps over 12,000 people a year with a range of queries, many of whom need help to be able to apply for the benefits that they are entitled to.

“Our clients find the support that we provide, including practical support from the Computer Café and other initiatives, is invaluable and tell us that without it they would not be able to navigate the complex processes involved. We feel passionately that older people should not be disadvantaged in a world where those skills are required for everyday activities like parking and banking as well as accessing benefits.”

Minister for Pensions, Paul Maynard, said:

“It was wonderful to visit Age UK Herefordshire and Worcestershire (H&W) to experience firsthand the important work they do to support our pensioners.

“We are always looking for more innovative ways to reach out to pensioners, and it was great to hear about all the ways Age UK H&W tackle these challenges. It was also good to discuss our recent Pension Credit trials targeting those likely to be eligible for this vital support.”

Age UK H&W’s free, confidential and impartial Information and Advice service helps older people across the two counties access the benefits that they are eligible for. Their advisors also assist them with filling out applications and can provide information about further support that may be available.

In just the final three months of 2023, their Information and Advice team supported people to apply for £561,407 worth of unclaimed benefits, money which not only has a transformative impact on individuals’ lives but would otherwise be lost to the economy. This vital service is largely reliant on the charity’s fundraising efforts, the generosity of donors and last year a grant from the Eveson Trust, but it receives no regular funding.

If you would like to know more about the support available via the Age UK Herefordshire & Worcestershire Information & Advice Service or any of their services for you or an older loved one, please visit www.ageukhw.org.uk or call 0800 008 6077.

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