Preston-based charity Age Concern Central Lancashire has launched ‘MAC’, a Mobile Advice Centre designed to reach and support older people in need.Advertisement
The charity is running the community outreach service with Preston North End Community and Education Trust and its utility network partners, Electricity North West, Cadent, and United Utilities.
MAC comes in the form of a 7.5 tonne, 56 sq m Mercedes Atego van, which was secured through a competitive bidding process via Preston City Council.
The vehicle has since had a £50,000 refit, paid for by the three utility companies, and is dementia friendly and accessible for people of any age and ability.
The overhaul includes two consultation booths, open space for group activities and talks, air-conditioning and brew making facilities.
The vehicle will be used at supermarket car parks and community events throughout Lancashire, with a schedule of locations to be released once Covid-19 restrictions allow.
Residents will be able to pop in and speak to Age Concern Central Lancashire representatives about independent living, memory loss, dementia care, benefits advice and legal services.
The utility networks will also offer MAC attendees advice on safety and energy efficiency measures.
Suzanne Carr, CEO of Age Concern Central Lancashire, said: “This is not the first time in our history we have provided a mobile resource unit.
“In 1984 the charity began using a bus affectionately called ‘The Teapot’ bus and people would flock to where it was located to seek our help. Now in our 40th anniversary year we are delighted to bring things full circle and to launch the Mobile Advice Centre or ‘MAC’ as it’s been named.
“Furthermore, we are delighted to have formed partnerships with the North West’s big three utility companies, which in turn means our customers will have access to a full suite of services, and most importantly, will be able to access 1-2-1 support on a range of important matters from independent living through to seeking help during an energy crisis.”
Age Concern Central Lancashire, who recently won both the prestigious BIBAs Business Hero Award 2020 and Lancashire Business View Award at the Red Rose Awards 2020, was granted £50,000 by Electricity North West, Cadent and United Utilities as part of a new Utilities Together group in the North West.
Read more: Preston charity wins BIBAs Business Hero Award
Jenny Moten, North West Network Director for gas network Cadent, said: “We’ve had an extraordinary year, one that’s had a huge impact on everybody, but particularly older generations who we know have often felt isolated.
“How great then for the gas, electricity and water networks to be working with Age Concern Central Lancashire to take our support direct to the heart of the communities we serve.
“I’m looking forward to seeing it in action and, when Covid restrictions allow, having a brew and a natter onboard with our customers.”
Age Concern Central Lancashire is currently working in line with Government guidance and aims to start touring with MAC from Monday 12 April 2021.
The charity is appealing for volunteers to support the initiative. Anyone who has CBT training or experience in driving HGVs or buses is invited to get in touch with the charity on 01772 552865 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a business or you have space where communities meet and would like to know more about hosting MAC, contact the team on 01772 552850 (option 7) or email@example.com.
For more information on MAC, visit the Age Concern Central Lancashire website.
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What do you think of MAC? Do you know someone who could benefit from the community outreach service? Let us know in the comments