Supporting our older veterans during Covid-19

June 5, 2020

Amongst the recent awardees from our Veterans’ Should Not Be Forgotten Programme, which focused on reaching the most vulnerable veterans in our community, veterans in Oldham are receiving much-needed contact thanks to Age UK Oldham.

Awarded a grant of £20,000, we caught up with Maggie Hurley, Volunteer & Community Development Manager at Age UK Oldham, to find out more about the impact this funding is already having…

A photo image of Jack, veteran, mentioned in text

Meet Jack

94-year-old Jack has been receiving daily calls from our volunteer, Becky, via Skype. He likes to see who he is talking to. Becky and her daughter love talking to Jack, and Jack shares his knowledge of birds, helping them identify the birds in their garden!

On VE Day this year, the three of them had their own celebration over skype. Jack loved having someone to share the special day with and tell tales of his Army days to.

Jack said: “I really enjoy the daily chats; it really brightens my day; we have become very good friends”.

Alan was struggling being alone

Alan was referred to us at the start of the lockdown through the community HUB; he was struggling with getting food as he was self-isolating.

“We realised quickly that Alan needed daily support.”

Once we went into lockdown, Alan was struggling with being alone. Being ex-Army, he knew he should follow rules and couldn’t go out, but he had no one to help him. He was referred to us here at Age UK Oldham and we began to give him much-needed help and support.

Alan initially received our emergency food package but was really distressed that he had no cash at home and couldn’t collect his pension. Every week our team have called to reassure him that he doesn’t need any cash at the moment, but he forgets and becomes distressed so the weekly reassurance calls are a must and still continue from our Personal Independence Payment (PIP) service.

We realised quickly that Alan needed daily support, so we arranged for Josy, one of our volunteers, to call him every day and have a chat. Alan welcomes this daily phone call and has spent many days talking about his life and his days in the army.

We asked Alan how he feels about things since the lockdown and he said “I’m so grateful for everything Age Uk Oldham have done to help me, thankyou”

Arthur loves banter with the staff

Arthur attended the group’s lunch club in Shaw every Friday and enjoyed his lunch and activities with his friends. Since the virus, these have stopped, leaving Arthur with nowhere to go and meet up with friends.

During lockdown, while Arthur has been at home alone, the Age Uk Oldham lunch club supervisor Karen calls him every week and they chat about his life, current news and he loves to reminisce about his youth.

He is also in daily contact with his lunch club friend and they ring and keep each other’s spirits up.

Arthur sends jokes to Age UK Oldham staff via WhatsApp and loves the banter he has with the staff from lunch club every week via the phone!

Age UK Oldham deliver freshly cooked meals to Arthur every week now and asked him what he thought of the food.

Arthur said: “The meals are impeccable and it saves me having to go out for food, its wonderful”.

With the support of telephone calls and meals Arthur has remained safely at home during the lockdown

A lifeline for many veterans

The Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten Programme has provided a lifeline to many who have had to remain at home due to Covid-19.

Find out more about the impact of this programme, including a full list of all awarded, here.