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When the board of trustees at Age Concern Causeway brought a new counter into the shop, Fergal Quinn quickly realised that it was far too big, that wheelchair volunteers would be unable to help and that a smaller counter was needed.

“There are no barriers in this charity. We want the charity to reflect everyone in the community.”

Age Concern Causeway provides services for people aged 55 and over in the Causeway Coast and Glens council area. These services include dementia support groups, befriending services, active age programmes and a lunch club. Like everyone they were deeply affected when COVID-19 hit and lockdown began, but like so many charities, they have adapted.

“After the first lockdown we brought in a shopping service and a prescription service. A lot of people only needed a few things where paying for delivery didn’t make sense - so we created a delivery service.”

But they didn’t stop there. In November, with the consent of the local trust and family members, they started going back into the homes of people suffering with dementia. The importance of this vital service is best summed up in what a family member told Fergal: “There is a small probability that you will bring coronavirus into my home, but there is a 100% probability that I cannot cope without your support.”

Black Santa’s funding helps Age Concern Causeway deliver this type of initiative, and people’s generosity of people doesn’t go unnoticed by Fergal.

“It always amazes me thinking about the people who give every year. It’s an amazing thing. People are so generous and it just brings out the goodness in people.”

This year’s Black Santa is focusing on Mental Health, and Fergal had someone come forward to volunteer who disclosed he had issues with mental health. When Fergal told him he could join the team, this man burst into tears - of joy - at being given the opportunity to volunteer.

Age Concern Causeway really doesn’t have any barriers, and it’s charities like this that need the continued support of donations to the Black Santa campaign.


To find out more about Age Concern Causeway, visit their website here.