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Local charity looking to the future

It has been a very busy year for Age UK Barrow & District, who have been supporting older people during the pandemic with free hot meal deliveries, telephone befriending, food parcels and prescription collections, as well as providing information and advice relating to benefit entitlements and a wide range of other services. A new development for the charity has been the sale of our head office. Lakeland House on Abbey Road has been purchased by Barrow Borough Council using grant funding from the Government’s Towns Fund Accelerator scheme.

Vickie Martin, Operations Manager said: “We made the decision to sell the building as we wanted to focus all of our resources and attention on the older people of Barrow. We will remain in the building as a tenant and are excited to be sharing the space with Drop Zone who will be relocating from their current premises in Bath Street. This will increase capacity and to make sure a range of services for children, young people and older adults are available under one roof.

The need for a youth hub in the town centre was identified as a priority by Drop Zone and the newly formed Furness Youth Work Partnership - a group of charities, bodies and representatives linked to services for children and young people in the area.

The aim for Age UK Barrow & District is to restart social groups and activities from more community-based locations such as community centres and halls around the district so we can reach more people.

We also hope by sharing the space with other organisations, we can collaborate on projects that will benefit Barrows community. Age UK Barrow & District has helped many people through lots of different projects over the years and we are very proud to carry on supporting the local, older community. There is a very exciting future ahead and we are really looking forward to expanding our services”.

Age UK Barrow provides a variety of services and opportunities for people to stay active and remain independent. One of their latest projects is Later Lives Connected, which has been brought to the forefront by the pandemic. The project supports people to get online and take part in online social groups, activities and exercise, as well as supporting people to use technology to become more independent and access the digital world.

Project Manager, Shaun Blezard said: “We can help people get access to devices and get online so they can start to learn how to use a whole host of online resources. Many of the older generation are a bit wary of the internet but we are here to help and can offer ongoing support with any technical issues they may come across. The difference getting online has made to people is fantastic to see and we hope to help more people going forward”.

The charity recently celebrated the opening of their new charity shop on the corner of Walney Road and Wilkie Road, the former kitchen showroom. The team have been working hard behind the scenes sorting through donations and getting the shop set up ready to welcome customers, both old and new.

Having ended the lease and moved out of their previous premises on Rawlinson Street in February, the charity are delighted to be opening their doors and hope the new location will attract more customers.

Vickie Martin from Age UK Barrow said: “We are delighted to finally get the doors open and it looks great. The staff and volunteers have done such an amazing job getting it ready. We have moved into a bigger premises with more space, allowing us to expand on the type of goods we sell, such as quality, used furniture, electrical and white goods as well as clothes, toys, books and homeware items, so please do come in and take a look”. All of the funds raised through the charity shop goes straight back into Age UK Barrow & District. The money is kept locally and used to fund the services we provide to the local older community of Barrow, Dalton and Askam.

For information on any of the services or to find out how you can help the charity with fundraising or volunteering, visit their website www.ageuk.org.uk/barrow/ emailing contact@ageukbarrow.org.uk or calling: 01229 831425.

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