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Leaf litter pickers spring into action for Crawley Age UK

Electricity workers helped spruce up Age UK West Sussex, Brighton and Hove’s (WSBH) grounds in Crawley so the charity can welcome back members after months of lockdown isolation.

From News & press - 8 April 2021 12:00 AM

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Staff from UK Power Networks swept up winter leaves, weeded flowerbeds and cleaned windows at the centre in Town Barn Road, West Green, to help make it tidy for next month’s reopening. 

The nine electricity workers gave their time through UK Power Networks’ volunteer scheme, Donate a Day, which gives the company’s 6,000 employees two days paid leave each year to work on voluntary projects in their local community.

Inga Wharfe, who works in UK Power Networks’ transport team, said: “There are so many elderly people who haven’t got anybody to take care of them, for whatever reason, and that’s why people need to step in and support them. 

“I’m proud of the work our team is doing. We all work in different departments and some of us had never met each other before, but everyone is smiling and working well together, it’s a real team effort. My daughter also joined us today, it’s just good to help others.”

Inga was so impressed by Age UK’s work she is applying to volunteer at the centre with her family during her weekends, playing piano, running knitting sessions and helping out with jobs. 

Christine Saunders, centre manager for Age UK WSBH in Crawley, said: “Our car park and garden was full of winter leaves so when it rains it becomes slippery and we needed to clear it before our clients returned. We are tidying everything up and we’re rushed off our feet so we appreciate the help. Clearing the leaves is such a valuable job to us – people may be anxious about returning so we want to make sure the garden is attractive and inviting. 

“We offer a range of services here, one of our main aims is to reduce loneliness and isolation and keep people out of hospital. We offer chair-based exercises, to keep people moving, quizzes to combat cognitive decline and we look after their wellbeing. It’s a lifeline. 

“Older people come here to have dinner and do activities, but we also safeguard those who aren’t coping on their own. We run benefit checks, get their central heating working, provide help at home and make referrals to Citizens Advice. We might be the only people they see each week.”

Age UK West Sussex, Brighton & Hove is a brand partner of the national charity Age UK, but is a local, independent charity that works with people over 50, supporting and empowering them to make the most of life. Age UK WSBH aims to help older people to remain healthy, stay independent, be informed and get connected. It offers information, advice and services, while its social clubs and centres offer activities for fun, friendship and fitness.  For further information please visit www.ageukwsbh.org.uk or for Age UK national visit www.ageuk.org.uk 

Pictured: Christine Saunders, centre manager for Age UK WSBH in Crawley, in the grounds following a spruce up by volunteers from UK Power Networks.