2020 has been a tough year – but ECT is delighted to be supporting a fellow Ealing charity this month as it recognises the contribution that older people make to our community, despite the current challenges.
To mark the 30th Anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons, Age UK Ealing has produced celebratory mugs for all its members, with a special message thanking them “for who you are and what you do”.
“We know that the months ahead might not be easy as we continue to struggle against Covid-19,” reads the message on the mug, “but please know that Age UK Ealing is here for you, values you, and looks forward to seeing you again soon.”
As a key partner with the charity, ECT is pleased to be echoing these sentiments – and helping with the celebrations by delivering more than 100 of the mugs to individuals across the borough.
One such delivery was particularly heart-warming this week – as ECT driver Malcolm Hatfield made a very personal trip to give an Age UK mug to none other than his elderly father, Charles Hatfield (see photo).
Not only is Charles a member of Age UK but he has been using ECT’s minibuses to get out and about in Ealing for the past two-and-a-half years.
“ECT are always on time and reliable, and the drivers are patient and chatty,” reports Charles. He adds that a recent trip to Kew Gardens was “really well organised and enjoyable – it was really good that they thought to provide both a wheelchair and a blanket. If they did ratings I would give them 10 out of 10!”
Malcolm has actually only driven his dad once as an ECT driver. But his father’s positive experience using the ECT PlusBus – which took Charles to the local supermarket in Alperton to buy his groceries – was one of the key reasons he decided to work for the charity in the first place.
Offered another job working for a supermarket delivery firm, Malcolm felt that working for a local charity that took elderly people to buy their own supplies would have a much more positive impact.
“I was 40 years in the printing industry and then when my mum passed away I was keen to find a new job which gave something back to the community,” he says. “I was also very touched seeing nurses looking after mum so when I had the option of delivering groceries for a grocer or helping actual people, I decided to work for ECT. I would much rather, towards the end of my working life, do something where I am contributing in a really positive way.”
During lockdown earlier this year, Malcolm was part of the ECT crew making thousands of food deliveries on behalf of both the council and several charities across the borough.
Reginald Parkinson, Chief Executive of Age UK Ealing, said this month’s celebration was also a way to say ‘thank you’ to staff, volunteers, funders and partners such as ECT who had supported them through the pandemic.
“We are very grateful to ECT – not just for the passion they have for helping vulnerable people but for all the hard work that goes with it, particularly over recent weeks,” he said.
“ECT doesn’t just provide transport. They have a very good understanding of all the needs of the individual clients, particularly those who are very vulnerable and frail. They are patient, friendly and professional – every single one of them. The way they work with us and with the elderly people is great to watch.”
ECT’s long-standing relationship with Age UK Ealing would normally involve regular minibus transport for elderly, isolated people to the charity’s day centre in Greenford, where in pre-Covid times they could socialise, get a hot meal for lunch and take part in a range of activities, from singing and knitting to armchair yoga.
During lockdown, the charity quickly adapted its services to support people at home, keeping them company on the phone, answering their queries and connecting them with additional support such as food and medication.
More details about Age UK Ealing and its celebration of the International Day of Older Persons can be found here.
Read about our work with Age UK Ealing during Covid-19 in our story, ECT food deliveries top 10,000 thanks to partnerships across the borough.