Police chief's help for older people during coronavirus lockdown

A charity has welcomed support from Derbyshire police and crime commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa to protect elderly and vulnerable people affected by Covid-19.

Friday, 17th April 2020, 2:30 pm
Derbyshire police and crime commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa has awarded £5,000 to Age UK (Derby & Derbyshire). Photo: Jason Chadwick

Age UK (Derby & Derbyshire) has been awarded a £5,000 grant from the commissioner to fund a simple scheme offering prepaid cards to older people struggling in self-isolation and relying on other people to get their shopping.

The initiative will prevent older people from handing over cash or bank cards to those who could seize on the opportunity to exploit them. Instead, the card will only have a limited amount of money uploaded, reducing the risk of a more serious theft and protecting life savings.

Older people using the scheme will arrange to pay back the money to Age UK directly who will then be able to purchase further cards and offer help to more vulnerable people.

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The charity has thanked the commissioner for supporting the scheme and ensuring help can be delivered swiftly to those finding it difficult to cope in the pandemic.

Katy Pugh, chief executive of Age UK (Derby & Derbyshire), said: "In a time of real challenge for us as a charity and for older people in Derbyshire, the commissioner's grant funding is timely and will help prevent financial abuse and ensure older people can access the shopping and essentials they need to stay safe at home.

"We have known from the beginning of this crisis that older people may well have plenty of offers of help but safely paying a volunteer or neighbour for the shopping was going to be a problem and consequently that older people might keep dangerous amounts of cash at home, share a bank card or financial details inappropriately.

“So the grant will help us achieve a simple but effective solution keeping older people safe, communities helping each other and our charity helping those most in need."

Mr Dhindsa added: "We have a fantastic community spirit in Derbyshire and I'm proud to be playing my part and supporting our communities in this simple way.

“This outbreak is testing the resolve of us all and it's important we all do what we can to help, even when this means simply staying at home."