New support for elderly to open 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 new service supporting the needs of Sidmouth’s elderly population is preparing to open its new premise in the town.

Age Concern Exmouth is expanding into Sidmouth after trustees signed the lease on the former Mare and Foal shop.

The charity’s CEO, Gill Smith, says the Exmouth centre sees 1,000 people a week utilising its services which encompass paid-for home visits and companionship, as well as wellbeing events and trips.

The CEO said her main focus for Sidmouth is to tackle social isolation by providing affordable services, free information and advice on a range of subjects and employment in the town.

Gill said: “We want to offer a point of contact for older people when they need us.

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“It’s very much for the people of Sidmouth. We want to provide employment for Sidmouth.

“The home support team will be in Sidmouth, volunteers will be from Sidmouth and the people we serve will be in Sidmouth.

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“We know we cannot afford what we have in Exmouth because we do not have the funding to provide that.

“We have had to look for something smaller to get us a foot in the door.

“Not only are we going to provide a fabulous service for the older community, there will be employment and it will be affordable for all.

“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel but we all have a part to play.”

The charity aims to open its premise in March, following refurbishment works, but has begun recruiting staff for the town’s home support team and volunteers to begin running services sooner.

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

Gill said: “There will be a small seating area and people can come in for a cup of coffee.

“We have the opportunity to hire the unitarian hall if we do get enough interest to do things such as yoga.

“People can just walk in without an appointment.”

Users will be able to talk about private issues with team members to discuss financial or other issues or help filling in forms with volunteers.

The charity offers a free will writing session once a week and monthly coach trips.

For more information about joining the team or home care support service call 01395 271242.

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