Charity chairman responds to rumours surrounding the future of Age UK Barrow & District



A charity chairman wants to clear up confusion and rumours surrounding the future of Age UK Barrow and District.


Stephen Harris is responding to recent planning applications made by Age UK South Lakes and on claims there could be a merger.

He said they were fully aware of their planning application and their desire to to open two super stores in the area.

He explained how Age UK Barrow and District has been providing services in the district for a significant number of years and will continue to do so.

He said: “We, like Age UK South Lakes, are independent charities working under the umbrella Age UK organisation. We cover Barrow and Furness and Kendal-based Age UK covers south Lakeland.

“Up until the end of March Age UK South Lakes have been providing services under a contract which they won as the preferred bidder two years ago.

“That contact was not extended at the end of the two year period and they continue to want to deliver those services in the Barrow area.

“Given that we are independent organisations there is synergy in the services that we have continued to offer over the same two year period.

“In terms of any new or additional services that would be delivered from the income raised is something which is currently under discussions between the two organisations.”

Steve added that they had some concerns that the plans being made by Age UK South Lakeland may be detrimental to the services currently delivered in Barrow and potentially may prevent Age UK Barrow from developing any further services that may meet the needs of our users within the Barrow and District area.

He added: “In addition we also have concerns that the provision of two additional large charity stores may adversely impact other local charities and their ability to obtain charitable donations and the relevant income streams to maintain the important local work they do.

“Over the last two years we have worked extremely hard to find ways to deliver the services the local population needs whilst finding ourselves severely challenged to find grants and funding to deliver those services and activities.

“To this end we have been moving from a grant funded delivery of services to asking for a small charge from our users, which they are happy to pay to support the activities they want us to provide.

“If we wish to continue to expand and deliver more to our local users then we need to have the opportunity to do that without seeing funding streams potentially reduced.

“In terms of the money we generate as your local Age UK we can be certain that that money will be spent on services that benefit our community.

“The primary aid of my charity is to service the needs of the population of the Barrow and District area and will continue to do everything we can to allow us to enable us to do that.

“As it currently stands we have no plans for any merger to take place between ourselves and south Lakes and there have not been any discussions regarding this.”

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