Age Concern plea for funds

Age Concern Waitaki faces an uncertain future as it struggles with the financial implications of increasing elder abuse and demand for its services.

Last year, the organisation, which has 120 members and about 50 volunteers, faced financial difficulties that threatened its future and called in Oamaru businessman Dick Cottier to provide advice and turn it around.

Yesterday, Age Concern asked the Waitaki District Council for $12,500 a year for the next 10 years, which it said it needed to help it survive, to be put in the council's 2015-25 long-term plan. Waitaki co-ordinator Wayne Stringer told the council long-term plan hearing yesterday its funding came through grants and small donations, some of which were targeted at specific activities.

The organisation was facing increasing demand for its services, particularly in dealing with elder neglect and abuse - some cases of which were as serious as those which had received publicity in other parts of New Zealand, it said.

Last year, it dealt with 100 cases of physical, financial, psychological and emotional abuse and serious neglect in the Waitaki and Waimate districts.

This required 20 hours a week face-to-face time and further time for reports, other paperwork and follow-ups with other community groups.

Back-up staff were needed for extra hours.

In addition it managed the council's community housing under a paid contract and delivered 60 to 70 meals on wheels a day, 365 days a year.

Approaches had been made to other organisations for funding and yesterday Mr Stringer said he was ''begging some money'' from the council.

''If we fold, there will be no-one to look after older people,'' he said.

The request will be considered when final decisions on the long-term plan are made on May 27.david.bruce@odt.co.nz

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