AGE old confusion

I would welcome the opportunity to add to the letter published in last week’s Herald in which a reader commented the new Age Concern Eastbourne shop that opened in Polegate will be ‘for the benefit of Eastbourne area only’.

I am aware many people may be confused as to the difference between Age UK and Age Concern Eastbourne, especially as there are now two shops in Polegate that represent each separate charity.

By way of background I’d like to explain that Age Concern Eastbourne has been quietly caring for the people in the Eastbourne area for more than 64 years, a record of local service of which we are justifiably proud.

On April 1 this year, we severed links with Age UK and decided to become a truly independent local charity; the only one of its kind wholly dedicated to the wellbeing of older people in our local area.

Opening our new shop on the corner of Victoria Road and the High Street is a logical step for our local charity, as many residents of Polegate benefit directly from the wide range of activities and services that we deliver, or volunteer their services to help us continue our vital work.

Mr Payton is quite right to point out that the existing Age UK shop in Polegate represents a nationwide organisation and we are happy to underline the important distinction between the two shops.

As an independent local charity we can truly say that every penny that is raised in our new shop will be spent locally and residents of Polegate will continue to benefit from that policy.

Plans are in hand to deliver a new Information and Advice outreach service in Polegate and we intend to strengthen our links within the town, both through the new service and the new shop.

There is an important distinction between national and local charities and we believe that in these times of economic difficulty local people should be aware of this distinction so that they may make an informed choice as to which they choose to support.

Both charities ultimately exist to help older people, but if the old adage that charity begins at home is true, then giving locally to help locally makes perfect sense.

Ray Blakebrough

Business development manager Age Concern Eastbourne.