Northamptonshire Age UK need answers over paying their staff and caring for elderly

Twelve voluntary groups, including Northamptonshire Age UK, are still in limbo as they await confirmation over whether they will stay open for another year.

Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 1:08 pm
Age UK staff pictured dancing and singing with their clients at the centre in Northampton.
Age UK staff pictured dancing and singing with their clients at the centre in Northampton.

Time is now ticking as the £1.6m social wellbeing contract will end for a dozen county organisations in March, including Northamptonshire's Age UK who had to open their eighth day care centre last month to cope with demand as client numbers have soared to almost 300 people.

Their hubs across the county are a place where many people go not just to have a chat but also to be bathed and have their hair and feet looked after.

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Pictures taken at Age UK in Northampton by Kirsty Edmonds.

The ending of the current three year funding pot – which is administered by organisation Commsortia on behalf of Northamptonshire County Council – has caused much concern in the county with a number of voluntary organisations who also include The Autumn Centre, Catch 22, Dostiyo, Glamis Hall, Marlow House Welcomes, Mayday Trust, Midland Heart, Naash, Serve and ACA.

The local authority has promised one year interim funding by councillor Ian Morris but each group is unsure of how much money they will receive, if any.

Northamptonshire Age UK chief executive, Christopher Duff, said: "The really big thing is we still don't know whether some of us will get anything. Some might get exactly what they had before, or some might get more. We do not know how it will pan out.

"March is not very far away. Our staff need to know where they are going to stand in terms of employment, and our volunteers, too. I think time is running out.

Service manager for Age UK Northamptonshire Fern Overstonpictured with chief executive Christopher Duff. By Kirsty Edmonds.

"Also, it is not made clear what the time scale for resolving this is, or how quickly this will happen."

Thirty clients have been referred by Northamptonshire County Council to Northamptonshire Age UK.

Service manager for Age UK Northamptonshire Fern Overston said: "At the moment as long as clients want us to go and pick them up, we will pick them up. These people need us five days a week.

"We are seeing a lot more people than we ever did and they keep wanting to reduce the money.”