Where Aylsham leads in care of elderly

MY family are breathing a huge sigh of relief because an elderly relative has, at last, been re-housed.She's been on a list for two years, waiting to move from a very urban flat on the edge of Norwich, to be nearer her children and grandchildren in north Norfolk.

MY family are breathing a huge sigh of relief because an elderly relative has, at last, been re-housed.

She's been on a list for two years, waiting to move from a very urban flat on the edge of Norwich, to be nearer her children and grandchildren in north Norfolk.

It took a lot of hard work and form filling by some of her family and we think she's struck gold. Not only is she in attractive and friendly sheltered accommodation for the elderly, but she's in the heartland of the entirely wonderful Aylsham Care Trust (ACT).

How many other communities can boast a home-grown charity whose main function is to make sure elderly and infirm people remain a cherished part of the community and aren't left forgotten and isolated?


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Our relative is already enjoying ACT's luncheon clubs and hopes to sign up for their minibus shopping trips and outings in due course.

A depressing report from Help the Aged last week revealed that more than a third of older people in the UK, including half those women aged over 65, now live alone.

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It suggested that more than one million older people say they often, or always, feel lonely.

According to the report nearly half a million pensioners only leave their houses once a week and a further 300,000 are entirely housebound.

It's chilling to think of the unseen, unknown, scale of human misery, mental and physical decline behind those clinical statistics.

Whenever we're forced to pause in our hectic lives and give it a moment's thought, we sigh, wish it wasn't happening - and then turn back to the clamour of our work, friends, families, and social networking internet sites.

But for the past 23 years ACT has daily been taking practical steps to prevent that misery in and around Aylsham with its minibus, luncheon clubs, coffee pop-ins, and army of volunteers to run it all.

The charity was founded by Rees Coghlan, who was awarded the MBE a few years ago for his community work.

In ACT, he has given north Norfolk something rare and special … adjectives which apply equally to Rees.

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