Ilfracombe charity forced to close
AN era will come to an end next week as Age Concern in Ilfracombe closes its doors for the final time. The charity covers an area from Braunton to County Gate but has come to the end of the road after 17 years because there are just not enough people left
AN era will come to an end next week as Age Concern in Ilfracombe closes its doors for the final time.
The charity covers an area from Braunton to County Gate but has come to the end of the road after 17 years because there are just not enough people left to keep it going.
Chairman Joan Miller said so many trustees and volunteers had passed away or retired due to ill health that the remaining seven, whose ages range from 76 to 86, felt they had no other choice.
The Age Concern Ilfracombe and District premises at 6 Church Street will close on Friday, October 30 after years of making a huge range of services available to anyone in the area aged 50 or over.
In 2008 the charity made more than 2,200 contacts with people in the Ilfracombe area regarding all manner of issues.
Over the years these have included everything from home visits to filling out official forms, practical help and advice and organising social and fund raising events.
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"The office was open for anyone to come in and seek advice," said Mrs Miller, who is 76.
"The nearest Age Concern now will be Barnstaple but it is early days yet to know what will happen.
"We have been trying to get volunteers for 17 years, but have managed to trickle along, quite nicely at times, but it's gradually dwindled and they have not been replaced.
"Our treasurer Sidney Weldon died and he really was our 'general factotum,' then our vice chairman had to give it up because of ill health.
"It is so difficult to get volunteers, but I think all voluntary organisations are in a similar position - all the committees are getting older, because it's the same people who have done it year after year.
"We need younger people, volunteers who can start again. I think it will rise from the ashes again, but not just now. I can't stress enough the help and support we have had from local charities, the town council and other organisations over the years."
Mrs Miller and a colleague are hoping to continue some of their work, such as form filling and home visits, on behalf of Age Concern Devon, the regional branch of the charity.
Although there is a regional body, each local branch stands alone and is responsible for its own fund raising and services.
Anne Ovens, chief executive of Age Concern Devon, said when a branch closed they tried to ensure people in that area were not left with nothing.
"Anyone can phone us for information or advice and we will try to help. We have information on a lot of services and activities with a range of charities in the area. When people contact us we try to find something appropriate for their needs."
For further help and advice contact Age Concern Devon on 0845 2967810 or via Joan Miller on (01271) 863425.