Fellowship, the local community and wider society./ AGE UK our valued partner pictures success of their response.

Wed 11th November 2020 at 3.50 pm - Mon 4th January 2021 - 5.50 pm

A Kensington and Chelsea AGE UK local report, dated November 2020, notes pressure points and highlights the success of their response.

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Our local community partner AGE U.K. has issued a report covering the period from just before the first Lockdown, March to July 2020. It highlights the sheer pressure on AGE UK's response capability, just how well they answered the challenge and their need for our and other continuing support in times ahead. 
These are the key learning points from the report:

"Key Learning Points

Ahead of the start of lockdown, Age UK Kensington and Chelsea had a plan of action to support those who were socially isolated, needed food and required support with their health and social care needs. However, models soon had to change as the crisis unfolded; as an organisation all our services had to be proactive and not just reactive to situations that were appearing, often on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.

• Adaptability and flexibility were key. We built things very quickly and had to be open to failing fast and quickly recovering. This mind-set enabled us to adapt and improve our model as we went along, ‘building the aeroplane whilst flying’!

• Our food support system was designed as a universal system, and shopping support for people who could afford to pay emerged later on. Ideally we would have had the two systems running in parallel from the start, both to better support funded and non- funded options, but also to enable more choice and control for people.

• Working in partnership was absolutely fundamental to the success of the project. One of the major achievements has been the sense of teamwork and camaraderie both within the organisation and working with partners. The whole operation would not have been possible without that sudden and selfless partnership.

• Our organisation and many older people have embraced technology in a way that had never been explored before with use of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype and Komp.

• Although technology was great in providing groups, and empowering for some of our users, it does not replace physical group interaction. There are many isolated people in the borough who do not have access to technology, or understand how to use it, and also many who do not wish to use it. As a result of organisations not being able to run physical group spaces, there are people who are becoming more isolated and cut off from society. Digital Exclusion is now a key priority area for us.

• The pandemic and associated isolation are having a major impact on people’s mental health; as a result we need to better understand how to support people when they are struggling, whilst also supporting our staff and volunteers.

• Volunteers have been a crucial part of the Crisis response. Many told us that being part of the effort helped to support their own mental health.

• We have connected with a large number of older people who were not known to Age UK K&C previously and have also been able to reach out to more isolated men as a result.

• At a time when so many of our members felt isolated, we constantly got the feedback that it was nice to know we were thinking about them. The message we sent out to over 8,000 older people right at the start of the pandemic was ‘We are here for you’. Many people told us how important and reassuring that message was in such unsettling and uncertain times.

  AGE UK Kensington & Chelsea"

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