History of AERC
Obtained charity status.
We officially launched our ‘Resource Centre’ and introduced the ‘One Stop Shop’ services for our members. We introduced a new logo and name to the project with a new vision of empowering and enabling our members. We are working towards promoting an independent, active and healthy lifestyle through improved access to information and services for local older Asian people.
We purchased a custom-built minibus for our Day Care Unit. It helped to make our transport facility more comfortable, safe and accessible to all our service users including wheelchair users.
We introduced our own personalised Eid Cards, Diwali Cards, Birthday Cards and Calendar as marketing tools with great success. They are very popular with our service users and have helped us to develop a very special link with them.
We introduced our bi-monthly magazine DOST to our members. The magazine is targeted to improve access to information and services. It is published in English and Gujarati and has proved to be very effective towards marketing and sharing information.
Local statutory, voluntary and community organisations joined together to celebrate and value the great achievement in the history of health and social care (10th Anniversary) of AEI. We made the year even more memorable by introducing an abroad trip for highly dependant people. Many of our frail and wheelchair-bound members enjoyed a visit to Euro Disney and a view from the Eiffel Tower through a dream holiday.
There was ongoing concern about recognition of Asian carers, who take on board a lot more as a result of lack of appropriate and culturally sensitive services. (I.e. home care and residential care) After discussions with various agencies we decided to develop an Asian Carers Forum to seek views and suggestions of Asian carers towards the support and services available to them. The Forum was launched as part of National Carers Week celebrations. The Forum has progressed very well and many carers are enjoying our carers’ breaks, regular pampering sessions, yoga classes and much more.
We introduced the Service Users’ Forum in order to seek views and opinions of service users on a regular basis. Members are invited to monthly meetings on every first Thursday of the month. The minutes of the meeting and all relevant paperwork are translated into Gujarati to ensure participation of our service users.
Asian Elders’ Initiative developed a Day Care Unit for highly dependant older Asian people. The initial request for the service came from friends and relatives of highly dependant people with mobility problems who were not able to attend our day centre due to lack of adequate facilities. The project has since been successful, and has complimented other services such as residential care, respite and home care.
Asian Elders’ Initiative changed its voluntary status to become a company limited by guarantee. This status enabled us to raise additional resources to fund extra activities and safeguard the organisation’s liabilities and responsibilities. The motion was well received by our service users and other supporting agencies as it opened many doors for the project to develop and expand its services.
In order to meet the needs of the non-vegetarian population, halal meals were introduced. Our freshly cooked Asian meals are well appreciated by our members, as for those living alone it is the only cooked meal they receive in the day. The service has been very successful, and a large number of members take advantage of this subsidised meal.
Through ongoing negotiations, Asian Elders’ Initiative secured its long-term existence through main-stream funding from the local Social Services Department. Our successful operation and its positive impact on local older Asian people were the main reasons for such consideration by the Department. This was a great achievement for the project. The project recruited a team of experienced and skilled officers to bring a formal and systematic approach in its services.
We introduced the festivals of Diwali and Eid on a large scale. One of our main aims towards promoting these festivals was to increase the awareness of Asian cultural and religious values, and to promote harmony and integration of communities.
Fifty members from the organisation enjoyed a trip to Spain, which was the first ever excursion abroad for some of the members who were living alone. Most of them never thought that they would be able to go on holiday like this and hence for them it was a dream come true! Over the years we have visited many more exotic places around the world including Egypt, Singapore, Dubai, Sri Lanka and many more.
Asian Elders’ Initiative introduced the transport facility and made services more flexible and accessible to local older Asian people. The project acquired a minibus through a bid to “Telethon 90”, which also provided national recognition for the project.
Local Authority agreed to offer financial support for a project to run day centre provision at a local community centre. Officers from Social Services Department worked with the local community to develop a management structure (voluntary management committee), and recruit officers to run the project. The project (Asian Elders’ Initiative) was launched in the presence of local people and representatives from many local voluntary and community organisations, and the local VHP offered the facility for an office base and meeting place.
A few local, active and retired older Asian people got together and decided to work towards having provision for social gathering and other appropriate activities. Initially they used various local venues to meet for social interaction. They met with various local authority officers to discuss the possible formal arrangements for social gatherings, and to have a provision to share and discuss their concerns, problems and suggestions about services and support required to meet their needs.