Age Concern Barnstaple is hoping Devon County Council can now get behind it after the charity raised the £25,000 it urgently needed to survive.

Peter Heaton-Jones visited Age Concern Barnstaple to speak with clients, trustees and volunteers. Picture: Tony GussinPeter Heaton-Jones visited Age Concern Barnstaple to speak with clients, trustees and volunteers. Picture: Tony Gussin

The council said before Christmas the charity needed to raise money and also create a sustainable business plan if it was to receive more finding in the future.

Following an appeal launched by Barnstaple mayor Ian Roome in the Gazette, the community responded, including anonymous benefactors who donated £10,000 and £5,000 lump sums.

During a visit to the charity in Litchdon Street on Friday, North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones praised the work of Mr Roome, the town council, clerk Rob Ward, Simon Harvey and the Age Concern trustees, as well as director Andrea Scott.

He said MPs often needed to act as 'plumbers' to unblock the pipes of communication and he hoped to represent the charity's case strongly to the county council.

He said: “There's more to do – I think it's quite clear that we are not out of the woods yet. We are in a better position than a few months ago but there still needs to be communication with DCC.

“Let's make sure that it understands the vital work that Age Concern does.”

The charity offers a variety of services for elderly people in the town and surrounds, enabling them to remain independent in their own homes.

Around 220 people a week benefit from services ranging from telephone contact to home visits and hospital transport.

Mr Heaton-Jones added: “I am going to make sure that when county receive the business plan they really take careful consideration of it and understand what a strong footing Age Concern Barnstaple is on because of all the great work that has been done to raise this money.

“If they support it, Age Concern will be able to deliver a lot of the services that otherwise county would have to fund themselves. What is vital is that they give the long term certainty that Age Concern will keep going and provide that service in the future.”

Director Andrea Scott said trustees would be discussing a draft version of the business plan this week, with as finished version going to the council.

She said: “We are hopeful they feel we have made the requirements they were looking for.

“I think the trustees feel very pleased that we have made the commitment that we were asked to do.”

You can still donate to Age Concern Barnstaple by going to www.justgiving.com/campaign/ageconcernbarnstaple or drop in to Age Concern Barnstaple at 1 Litchdon Street or call 01271 324488 to find out about volunteering opportunities.