Age UK calls for public's help to support Harrogate's over 70s during coronavirus social distancing

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The charity Age UK is calling on the general public to support over-70s in their local areas as social distancing measures mean millions could be cut off from society.

In the local authority of Harrogate, there are 27,550 people over 70 according to the Office for National Statistics, 17 per cent of the area's total population.

The Government has urged people over 70 and those with underlying health conditions to shield themselves from social contact for 12 weeks from this weekend (March 21/22) in a bid to slow down the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

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On Monday evening (March 23), Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that everyone in the country must stay at home.

Stock image. Getty Images.Stock image. Getty Images.
Stock image. Getty Images. | Getty

In a televised address to the nation he said: "From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction - you must stay at home.

"Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households."

People are now only allowed to leave their home to go shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible; for one form of exercise a day; for any medical need; to provide care or to help a vulnerable person, such as the elderly; and travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary.

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Age UK has said it can only support older people with help from the public.

‘We can only do this with your help’

There are currently 8.7 million people aged 70 or older across the UK, representing about one in eight people.

There have already been a number of community aid groups set up across the country to help vulnerable people.

“During this time of great uncertainty and anxiety, it’s been so heart-warming to see the groundswell of support for older people and other at-risk groups,” said Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK.

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“In the weeks and months ahead older people are going to rely on local Age UKs up and down the country more than ever before.

“We are determined to be there for older people, but the reality is that we can only do this with your help.”

Caroline has shared her top ways to help the elderly in your local area:

Donate now: “Demand for our vital services has increased rapidly. Help local Age UKs in your area provide practical help such as food parcels and help us keep our Information & Advice and friendship services running by donating at”

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Keep in touch: phone your older relatives and friends to ask what they need.

Share these numbers: for practical information and advice, Age UK Advice: 0800 169 65 65. For a cheerful chat, day or night, The Silver Line: 0800 470 80 90

Show you care: make homemade cards (a great project for kids), send postcards, write letters or even post small gifts to keep people’s spirits up.

‘Overwhelmingly worth it’

With millions potentially shut off from society, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week that the draconian measures would help slow the spread of Covid-19, especially to at-risk groups.

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In a speech last Monday, he said: “I know that many people – including millions of fit and active people over 70 – may feel, listening to what I have just said, that there is something excessive about these measures.

“But I have to say, I believe that they are overwhelmingly worth it to slow the spread of the disease, to reduce the peak, to save life, minimise suffering and to give our NHS the chance to cope.”