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Age UK Suffolk to close after 'significant financial losses' due to coronavirus

Age UK Suffolk is to cease operations from the end of next week with 143 job losses following 'significant financial losses' due to the coronavirus crisis.

The charity will no longer offer services to older people across Suffolk from Friday, July 24.

In a statement the charity, based in Claydon, said it had 'faced a number of financial challenges in recent years which have been compounded by significant financial losses due to the coronavirus crisis'.

Age UK Suffolk (38609494)
Age UK Suffolk (38609494)

The charity said the temporary suspension of its home service and day service has 'affected income considerably, even with the lifeline of the government job retention scheme'.

In West Suffolk, the charity runs a dementia specialist day centre The Chilton Club, in Sudbury.

Anthony Sheppard, chair of trustees, said: “We would like to thank all of our staff and volunteers for their hard work, dedication and commitment to our work, and to the local community for their support.

"These are unprecedented times and we will be working as hard as we can to ensure that older people know where they can turn to for support."

The charity has 236 volunteers and during 2018/19 provided services and support to 8,340 older people and their families.

This year it was due to cost about £2 million to deliver its services.

Age UK Suffolk became a subsidiary of the national Age UK charity in 2017 when it faced immediate insolvency. Age UK has since provided 'substantial financial support'.

The charity said: "Unfortunately, like many other charities and organisations, the coronavirus pandemic has created enormous financial challenges for Age UK and when Age UK Suffolk’s situation became more serious, Age UK found themselves no longer in a position to increase its financial support to Age UK Suffolk."

In September 2019, Age UK Suffolk transferred its local shops to Age UK to be managed through their retail network.

Jo Reeder, head of marketing and comms for Age UK Suffolk, said “Understandably we are all desperately sad about this news, and are focussing on making sure that there is provision to serve the needs of older people in Suffolk, both immediately and in the future.

"Our staff, volunteers, stakeholders and supporters have been incredibly supportive and we thank everyone for their continued support.

"This decision has a huge impact on so many people and we are working hard to ensure that we offer as much support to people as we can."

It will be compiling a list of agencies and other organisations who may be able to offer support to older people.

Older people and their friends and family can contact Age UK national on 0800 169 6565 which can provide information and advice, and signpost to alternative services in their area.

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