Charity’s vision to tackle social isolation in Sidmouth

Gill Smith of Age Concern in Sidmouth. Ref shs 02 19TI 8269. Picture: Terry Ife

Gill Smith of Age Concern in Sidmouth. Ref shs 02 19TI 8269. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A safe environment for older people when they have nowhere to turn or are lonely has been praised by Sidmouth Town Council.

Gill Smith, CEO of Age Concern Exmouth, and Natalie Roberts, regional head support manager, spoke at last Monday’s meeting as the charity prepares to open its new Sidmouth centre.

Members praised the service for its aim to work with organisations in the town and offer services preventing social isolation within the town’s elderly population. The Herald revealed back in January the charity’s plans to expand to Sidmouth, utilising its services of paid for home visits and companionship to wellbeing events and trips.

Ms Smith told members: “My vision was to have a safe environment for older people to be able to come to have a cup of coffee and have a natter if that’s what they wanted, to take up an activity, if that’s what they wanted and more importantly have someone they could come and talk to when they are worried when they are concerned, when they have no where else to turn.

“Our intention isn’t to come in and take over Sidmouth and tell Sidmouth they are doing it wrong, far from it, our intention is to come in and try and enhance what we have already got and support the people of Sidmouth, because I think its right and proper.

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“It’s been asked of us so we’ve brought it. I do really hope from the bottom of my heart that you will find it valuable.”

The CEO said working in partnership with Sid Valley groups and venues was key to tackling the social isolation issue in the town.

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She said: “We created this really lovely environment in Exmouth with full compliment of activities all week. We’re going to be a little bit limited, we’re in a much smaller environment [in Sidmouth].

“We’ve made good connections with the voluntary services, Unitarian church, Stowford Community Centre, lots of places where we can take our activities and that’s our hope that we will get them up and running.”

Following the presentation, Sergeant Andy Squires expressed interest to work with the charity to hold police surgeries at the premise.

Councillor Ian McKenzie-Edwards, chairman of the council, said: “Age is inevitable, social isolation is not.”

Once open, visitors will be able to drop in without an appointment between 10am and 3pm, Monday to Friday.

Read More:

New support for elderly to open in Sidmouth

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