Published: 19 April, 2012
by TOM FOOT
ACTOR Sir Derek Jacobi has called for donations to help a Camden charity sustain its “vital” services for elderly people.
Sir Derek introduces a campaign for Camden Age UK in a film released this week called In Their Own Words.
The charity runs the two remaining day centres in Camden – which have lost all their funding from the Town Hall following government cutbacks.
In the film, Sir Derek says: “I’ve been a patron for Age UK Camden for almost 10 years.
Every year we support 6,000 older people, providing advice and information on a variety of issues.
“Many older people we work with are vulnerable and suffer from social isolation and loneliness. Please help us deliver these vital services.”
Age UK runs the Great Croft and Henderson resources centres in King’s Cross and Hampstead.
The film features interviews with users at the centres, who talk about playing dominoes, art classes, poetry, tai chi, knitting and learning about iPads.
Age UK also offers support and counseling for dementia sufferers.
The charity runs an information advice and advocacy service about housing and welfare. It provides advice in various languages, translations and home schooling.
Mahmood Shah, 78, said: “My home, Age UK helped me get it. So thanks to Age UK very much.”
One Henderson Court day centre user says: “It’s like home to us, if it closed it would be a lifeline cut off.”
In the film, another pensioner says: “I am an old, retired, blind, half crippled academic intellectual.
“The volunteers have always been an integral part of my abilities to keep up with things.
“If I was to lose that ability I cannot see how I would operate.”
Camden Age UK also runs the Good Neighbours Scheme and Peter, 79, who uses the door-to-door service, says: “I look forward to the visits – it makes such a difference to all the people who use it.”
Former Camden Mayor Barbara Hughes, who issues an appeal in the film, says: “Camden Age UK come and ask me what I want to eat – they have the info about what I have ordered before.
“Whatever I need in the house, it means you don’t have to worry about what you’re eating the next day.”
She adds: “We have a larger and larger group of people living to our age. There has to be the care for them.
“If Age UK is not funded in the future it will be disaster.”
Gary Jones, chief executive of Age UK Camden, said: “We are delighted that Sir Derek has shown his commitment to older people in the borough by being filmed as well as addressing the launch party.”
The film was launched at the Guardian offices in York Way, King’s Cross.
• It can be viewed online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_niQsz7Sq0