Upset at Age Concern shop

Ronnie Tuppen, Janet Turner and Anne Vernon
Ronnie Tuppen, Janet Turner and Anne Vernon

ELDERLY volunteers at Hampden Park’s Age Concern shop say they are devastated they have been asked to leave after many years of service.

A number of people are thought to have lost their volunteering posts at the shop in Brassey Parade.

Three elderly volunteers, who recently received letters asking them to leave, have said that Age Concern Eastbourne, a charity which was set up to help the town’s pensioners, is not showing concern for its older volunteers.

Janet Turner, a 66-year-old who has volunteered at the shop for seven years, said, “I am devastated that I have been asked to leave. I am so upset because working at that shop has been my lifeline. I have devoted so much of my time to the charity and I have made so many friends.

“We are a family - we all go on holiday together.”

Janet was just one of the volunteers who received a letter from Age Concern Eastbourne explaining a structured shift pattern needed to be implemented to ensure the Hampden Park charity shop brought in a similar income as the town’s other Age Concern stores in Green Street and Grove Road,

The letter, dated March 11, gives the volunteers four days notice and states, “As you have indicated that you are unable to commit to set shifts, I regret that we will have to withdraw your placement at the Hampden Park store with effect from March 14.”

However, 74-year-old Anne Vernon who has volunteered at the Hampden park shop for around six years said she, like Janet, can do the set shifts but has still be asked to leave.

“I am happy to do the shifts but I haven’t been asked,” said Anne.

“There should have been a meeting or something but instead we just got this letter out of the blue.

“It is unfair, but because we are volunteers we can’t claim unfair dismissal because we are not being paid.”

Ronnie Tuppen was one of the first volunteers at the Hampden Park shop and has also been asked to leave.

The 69-year-old said, “It is such a shame because we have got so many lovely customers who come in for a chat. There is one lady who comes in for a cuddle.

“The customers are disgusted with the way we have been treated.”

Janet added, “They are too worried about getting money in and they don’t care about us.”

Age Concern was not available for a comment by the time the Herald went to press.