AGE Concern may not survive unless it raises its profile in the community and broadens its support.
That was the stark message to members at the charity’s annual meeting at the Town Hall on Tuesday.
It came from chairman John Walton’s in his annual report which was presented to the meeting in his absence.
Mr Walton said: “Despite our endeavours in Rotherham for almost 30 years our existence and purpose seem to be little known locally.
“I intend to do my utmost to change this. Recently a letter was received by us from one of our three MPs who clearly knew so little of us that he disappointingly addressed his letter to ‘to whom it may concern.’
“For the avoidance of doubt we are an independent local charity, part of a national federation, which aims to help all elderly people who are in distress.
“We are completely independent of all political parties although we welcome assistance from politicians of all parties who can help alleviate the problems of men over 65 years of age and women over 60 years of age.
“We must, therefore, with some urgency raise our profile in the community to broaden our support.
“If we fail to do this we may not survive. To this end it is my intention with members approval to throw open our membership to any Rotherham resident aged 50 years of age or over.
“We are in the process of amending our constitution to permit this to take place.”
In his first annual report Mr Walton said Age Concern has
had to make significant reductions in staffing levels during the past year following a loss of funding for some services and projects.
His report added: “I would like to express my warmest thanks to those members of staff who have left for their invaluable work along with my sincere regrets that we had to dispense with their services.”
q For a full copy of the chairman’s report, go to www.ageconcernrotherham.org.uk