Initiated in 1952 by a group in the community who were concerned for the welfare of older people, Age Concern Canterbury has proved a successful contributor to the Canterbury community, supporting older people, many of whom face loneliness, low income and indifferent health. Our vision: “Age Concern Canterbury is the lead organisation in Canterbury that connects, supports, empowers, celebrates and respects all older people in an inclusive community.”
Our Mission : to achieve wellbeing, rights, respect and dignity for older people. A major strength is the wide community network we have established with other agencies. The co-operation and knowledge sharing generated by such close liaison and communication is invaluable. Age Concern Canterbury is independent although linked with similar bodies through the national network.
Currently we have 14,000 clients active on our data base. The number of clients, and requests for information and support, is steadily increasing as the older population expands.
The emphasis is on promoting health, safety and independence, and alleviating poverty, hardship, vulnerability and isolation. We have a tradition of filling gaps to meet identified needs, then stepping back when others enter the field. An example is the first official Meals-On-Wheels scheme in which we were involved together with the Red Cross. We also opened the first rest home in Christchurch.
Age Concern Canterbury’s services are successful because they are flexible and can readily respond to both the varied and specific needs of our clients. Our 20 paid staff involve people working directly with older people, their families or carers. Two registered nurses and two social workers operate a community health service. A staff member offers earthquake support and a further team of nine provide support for older people living in the community by providing visitors, social outings, information and a range of home support services including tradesmen, handymen, gardeners and home help. This last service, which started twenty-five years ago, co-ordinates 600 people providing their services at a reasonable rate. We also have a projects co-ordinator who facilitates relevant education programmes for older people in the community.
Three additional staff provide a visiting service in Westport, Hokitika and Timaru
We are fortunate in having generous community support and a wealth of volunteers also working directly with older people, giving regular time to help others. We have over 280 volunteers who drive and host minibuses, visit lonely people in their homes, help on our reception desk and update the information on our databases. We are funded by the community and our services depend on such support continuing by way of memberships, grants, donations and legacies.
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